When I was growing up, nothing seemed different about our lives.
I had everything that I could have ever needed or wanted. You always provided.
You never came home and complained about your hard day at work, that boss that yelled at you, or that customer that made you feel like giving up.
Every night when you got off work and made it home, you hugged me close, spent as much time with me as you could before you couldn't keep your eyes open anymore, and tucked me in.
You did everything in your power to make sure I was taken care of and didn't notice how much you had to be away to support us alone.
You never missed a t-ball game, cheer competition, or awards ceremony.
I gave you a hard time as a teenager. I put you through hell and made you feel like you failed as a parent. I lashed out, caused trouble, and didn't show you any respect.
Now that I'm older, I see you for who you are. I'm able to see my childhood for what it was.
You had to leave the man you loved and the family you had spent most of your life with, just to give me a better life.
You had to leave the state and move back in with your mother so that we could start over.
You left your possessions behind so that you could pack all of my toys in the car instead.
You worked every day and every night to keep our lights on. You wore old clothes and worn-out shoes to make sure that I had everything on my Christmas list each year.
You spent your only off-days coaching the cheer squad I was on so that you could spend more time with me. You drove me to countless practices and games throughout the years.
You waited until you went to bed at night before you cried.
You never wanted me to know how hard it was for you.
I know that you missed him. I know that you missed your old life. I know that there might have been times you wanted to give up, but you never showed it.
You lost both of your parents and still took care of me.
Your entire life revolved around me and my success and I want to thank you for that.
Thank you for giving up everything you ever had or could have had just for me to have a good life.
Thank you for spending eighteen tiring years caring for me and steering me in the right direction.
There have been so many times that I made you cry or told you that my success was my doing and not yours, but trust me when I say, that is not true at all.
It was you pushing me to do better in school that helped me graduate high school with honors, get accepted to every school I applied for, and start college this year.
You've always made sure that I knew I could talk to you about anything and that's why I've never doubted your unconditional love for me.
It was your awareness of me and my actions that stopped me from ending my life as a teenager.
Your long talk about how I was not alone and that you understood what I was feeling is what saved me.
We have had our ups and downs, but I could never imagine having any other mom.
I can only dream of being half of the mother to my future children as you were to me.
You're independent, strong, and a force to be reckoned with.
You're not only my mother, but you're my best friend in the entire world.
Thank you for everything that you've done for me, mom.
I love you more than words can express!