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My mom and I when I was a baby.

My mom has always been a great friend to me. We have shared great camping trips, heart-to-heart chats, dances and hugs. Now as I see her with my kids and that special relationship they have, I love her even more.

She doesn’t mind getting dirty in the backyard with Braeden while planning their latest “clubhouse,” they spend time painting pictures and telling stories about messenger pigeons that could send messages back and forth between them, and it’s great when she spends the night at our house and eagerly waits for him to wake up so he can see the note she left in front of his door that tells him “Come wake me up!” so they can share some special quiet time before the rest of the house wakes.

Jordyn and mom spend time chatting on the phone, watching movies and having special “paw-corns” (popcorn) and getting messy with paints and yes, even makeup. They play dolls and tea parties, and make-believe.

My kids think my mom is amazing. And they’re right.

Of course, this love and admiration I feel for my mom went through several stages.

My earliest memories of my mom are of times when she made me feel better: bandaids and kisses after falling off my bike and hitting my head yet again, peanut butter on saltine crackers while laying on the couch when home sick from school. My mom made me feel safe.

I remember being so proud when my mom came into school to bring a forgotten lunch or permission slip. She would always look so put together: matching purse, suit and nailpolish, her makeup perfect, smelling like perfume. She is so beautiful! She would walk away, her heels clicking down the hallway, and I’d think: someday, that will be me. I want to be just like her.

Then of course, there were the stages that switched daily (or hourly) from positive to negative: having deep heart-to-heart discussions over a drink and hugs for a heartbreak, then regular teenage arguments and thoughts that now ashame me of how I could do better when I was a mom.

Well I’ve learned that I cannot do better. My mom had three kids, was a professional, and there was no husband at home to support her. Sometimes our house was messy, but there was NEVER a moment when I felt unloved. How did you manage it Mom?! I have the most supportive marriage, more income and only two kids, yet there are days when I feel life is out of control. I can only hope that when my kids are grown they have as much love and admiration for me as I feel for you.

My mom and I have had our ups and downs (mostly ups!) and I know we all have our struggles, but nobody could replace my mom. Thanks for loving me, even during the times when I wasn’t all that lovable. And thanks for now being a best friend, a wonderful grandma and still my mom.

As a mom, I get it now. I know the intense love and fear you have for your children. I understand the moments when you struggle to find the right words to answer difficult questions and give good advice. I get that there are moments as parents where we lose control and things don’t always go as we had hoped. I get it now, and all I can say about the job my mom has done is “wow.” Wow, and of course, thank you.

I love you mom.

Mom and I after my marriage reception.