In elementary school, I was a devoted fan of the singing competition reality show, American Idol. I watched it every week and cheered on my favorite contestants like it was my job. I loved the show so much that one week when I wasn’t allowed to watch it (for reasons I won’t go into detail about), I sat in my bedroom and cried all night.

I am telling you this because from my loving of this television show came a certain singer who means everything to me.

Carrie Underwood.

If you’ve had even one conversation with me you know that I love Carrie Underwood more than anything.

My love for her began when she was a contestant on American Idol. She was on season four, and I was in the third grade.

I remember sitting on the couch one night watching auditions (my favorite part of the show). I remember Carrie walking into the audition room and falling in love with her and her voice as soon as she started to sing.

I also remember arguing with my fellow classmates the day of the finale of the show. They all thought Bo Bice was going to win, but I stuck with Carrie the whole season and she never let me down.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard any voice more beautiful or pure than Carrie Underwood’s. There is something so unique and distinctive about it. I say this because just last week my mom asked me to pick her voice out of a recently released country singers medley, and I could do it within five seconds of her starting to sing.

The thing is, Carrie Underwood is more than just a singer to me. She was my role model growing up and still is today.

Her story, a shy, small town girl making it big on a reality TV show inspires me in ways I cannot even explain. It reminds me that even though I too am a small town girl, I should never give up on my dreams and passions.

To this day I am still a devoted fan of my American Idol. I have seen her in concert seven times and counting, and cry every time.

In 2007 I even had the privilege of meeting Carrie in person.

I had a laundry list of things I wanted to say to her, but of course, when the moment actually came I was overcome with emotion and so totally starstruck, that all I said was,

“It is so nice to meet you…”

Which, of course, it was. But now that I have grown out of my awkward middle school stage and don’t know if I’ll ever have another opportunity to meet my idol, here are some things I’d like to say:

Thank you so much. I have been with you on your journey since day one, and I am incredibly proud and inspired by everything you have done. I know that some days you probably have no idea of your impact on people like me, but just know that it means so much to me to be able to look up to you. Thank you for being a role model and for always staying true to your home town values. You are truly my inspiration. Your music is one of a kind and something that has gotten me through the roughest days and longest nights. Please always keep writing music and always keep singing. Just thank you for being you.

As one of my favorite Carrie Underwood songs says, "thank God even crazy dreams come true." I'm so glad hers did.