On the Woman Who Made Me

My mother gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: she believed in me.

geckofly

Today my mother turns seventy. For almost 5 decades she has been my rock, my inspiration, my guiding light. Her unconditional love has provided a warm blanket of comfort to me as I grew and still grow, a sanctuary when I find myself breaking, a voice of reason when I am lost. My mom is my biggest cheerleader and supporter. She is the one who is continually reminding me not to shortchange myself. Her strength has lifted me up when I fell, inspired me to be strong, to face challenges in life head on. Her kindness has shown me how to be kind, her ability to forgive how to forgive, and her belief in magic the eyes for me to see the wonder in the world and beyond.

My mother is the reason I have my doctorate. She always wanted me to be able to take care of myself, be independent, self reliant, and have options. She taught me education was the key to power. She taught me that you can be anything, no matter what you started with and what opportunities you had, to always keep moving forward, to shoot for the stars. She instilled my love of reading, my love of learning, and stoked my imagination to dream unbounded by everyday constrictions. She taught me to see the good, and always believe that you can make a difference, if you only try. She taught me perseverance, the value of showing up, and that if you are committed to make something happen, you can. But the most important lesson she taught me was how to love with no expectations, that love is the most powerful motivation in the universe, and to give it freely was the rarest gift.

My mother is the most loving, kindest, genuine, and strongest person I know. I have always felt incredibly blessed she is my mother, for without her, I would not be where I am today in my life. She has always believed in me and gave me the confidence to achieve my aspirations and dreams. She made me understand that my life was my own, my choices my responsibility, and that being happy, no matter how I defined that for myself, was the most important thing. She gave me life, but more importantly taught me how to live every moment with love, grace, and gratitude.

Happy birthday mom. I love you much.

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