Dear Mama,

Thank you.

Thank you for staying up in the middle of the night with me while I emptied out the contents of my small four-year-old stomach into the bucket next to me because I was too sick to run to the bathroom.

Thank you for dancing around the living room to "Dancing Queen" seven times the night before my 18th birthday -- even though we had 100 birthday cupcakes to make and a six-page paper to write.

Thank you for sitting with me in your zen room and listening to me while I talked about my crushes, my broken friendships, and the teachers that made me feel crazy.

Thank you for sitting through every single choir concert, talent show, and musical - even the ones in elementary school when everyone was tone deaf and forgot their lines and enthusiastically waved to their parents in the middle of the performance.

Thank you for allowing me to talk about sex with you and not having it be a taboo subject. So many of my friends' parents avoid these conversations, and I'm so thankful that we can talk about it openly and honestly. It has helped me become more confident and comfortable with the thought of sharing my body with another person, and I can't wait to find the right person to share my first time with.

Thank you for being honest with me whenever I ask you questions. It has not only opened up our trust and communication with each other, but with my friends as well.

Thank you for finding every single possible way to encourage and support my constantly changing dreams. If you hadn't, this article wouldn't have been written, I wouldn't be going to college in Seattle, and I definitely wouldn't have met my best friends in choir and theatre.

Thank you for always being by my side. I never feel alone because I know that you will be right beside me, cheering me on and allowing me to defend myself (with your help, of course).

Thank you for not extinguishing my voice. It has helped me speak up on many unfair and unjust occasions. It's made me a stronger and more confident human being because I feel equipped to accurately call out misogyny and injustice in school and in the world.

Thank you for teaching me to look at my stomach and curves with love and not hatred.

Thank you for letting me figure out life on my own terms and having me be in control of my actions. This has helped me be unapologetically myself.

Thank you for being my safe place and holding me when the world was too much to handle.

And, finally, thank you for choosing to be my mom. I'm so glad we picked each other.

Love,

Your daughter

P.S. Thank you for pushing me out of your vagina. That must have hurt like hell.