Someone somewhere once said, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." Though I think there is some validity to this statement, I think a more accurate wording would be "absence makes the heart grow wiser."

I believe that when you are separated from something you are finally given the chance to look back and reflect on that thing and gain a new perspective on it and maybe further understand why it is the "heart grows fonder."

For me, that "thing" is my parents, more specifically the role they have played in creating the person that I am today. Though, even they could tell you that from the beginning, I was an independent kid, always doing everything "by myself," so their role may not have been super hands on, but that in itself is a role that was beneficial to me.

So, Mom and Dad, thank you for doing everything you could that you knew would benefit me in the long-run. Thank you for allowing me to be an independent child and for letting me raise myself in some aspects. Thank you for the times that you paid attention to me when I needed it, and even the times that you may not have because both shaped me into who I am today. Thank you for not losing your patience. You had two children that required two very different approaches to parenting and I'd like to think we are examples of your dedication.

Thank you for providing me with an education, a roof over my head, and food to eat (even when I leave only 1 chicken nugget in the bag). Thank you for supporting my passions even if I wasn't sure they'd work out. Thank you for pretending not to be too sad that I don't always refer to my home as my home anymore, as my school has taken that place for me.

Thank you for the dumb jokes (even if they don't always land). Thank you for not killing me when I had my eye-rolling phase. Thank you for listening to my little feet dance around my room and not complaining if it, or my music, was too loud.

As I get ready to go back to college for my junior year, and I realized how prepared I am for the vastness ahead that is "my future" (even though I am utterly terrified of that concept) I truly do realize that a lot of it is thanks to you two. My dad always said that a parent's job is to raise a kid that can be fully independent and self-sufficient when they become an adult. Now that I am becoming that adult, I realize how important and true that is.

So, thank you for raising me to be that adult and thank you for all of the love and support. Even though I said it about a thousand times, I really can't thank you both enough.