I’m not quite sure if she was always conscious of it, but my mom has been setting an example for me all of her life. In fact, as I think back on my younger years, I don’t see too many facets of my life that were not changed because of her. This is both inspiring and sobering – because I have a young daughter myself.

When I let my thoughts drift back to growing up, the thing that stands out to me is that my mother was never still. Being a mother and a wife now myself, I understand why. You know the old saying, “A farmer works from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done”? Yeah. My dad likes to twist that one around – jokingly of course, because he sees it too.
And though we don’t ask for it, as mothers and wives, it’s nice to be seen. To be appreciated. Some of us get praised often, and some never get thanked at all, but my Mom is celebrating a birthday tomorrow so I just want to thank her, here, in front of God and everybody for so many things that I might not have before.

Mom, thank you for every single meal you’ve ever made. Thank you for taking the time to prepare meals for your family that many times would be “booed” or left picked at. And thank you for all the nights you stayed up to feed my Dad a hot meal when he was working late. Nights when I’m sure you would have just liked to have closed up the kitchen and gone on to bed.

Thank you for being a pioneer on the home-schooling front. It wasn’t popular back then and you dealt with some WEIRD people. But I know this, I got a world-class education and I’ve never felt like I couldn’t hold my own in this world alongside my peers.

Thank you for taking me to church. Thank you for instilling a life of faith and prayer in me. This foundation, though it has undergone many transformations, still stands as the solid rock on which I base every decision. And I’ve never been disappointed.

Thank you for teaching me to read. Your love of the written word has given me an active imagination and allowed me to travel as far as my mind would take me. It’s another one of those lasting elements that I know will be a friend and comfort to me for as long as I live.

Thank you for not being afraid to be silly. Knowing I had the freedom to not always be serious has helped me have a sense of humor that has seen me through a lot of CRAP.

Thank you for sharing your imperfections. It’s hard to let your children see and know that you aren’t the perfect woman they think you are for the first several years of life. As a mother myself now, I don’t get caught up in beating myself up over little things. At least, not much. Because you’re still teaching me this.

Thank you for caring about your friends. I have watched you be there for so many people. You have one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever known and it is your example that taught me how to be a good friend.

Thank you for being patient with me. I know there’s nothing I could do or not do that would make you love me less – because I’ve probably done or not done a lot of them. You’ve never wavered in your belief in me and that has seen me through some really bad decisions.

Thank you for loving my dad. I know him. He is a wonderful man, but he’s still a man. Different from you, with his own issues, faults, and eccentricities. But you love him. Steadily, strongly, faithfully. You have been the example of keeping marriage vows in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, in good times and bad. I wouldn’t know if I hold fast to my own marriage if I hadn’t seen you do it thousands of times over.

Thank you for simply being you. I’ve never seen you try to be someone else or live up to the world’s or anyone else’s expectations. And as you’ve gotten older, I’ve seen you brush that kind of nonsense off even more. You are content with who you are, what you believe, and the life you have. There’s a bundle of lessons there – all valuable, all priceless.

There’s so many more things that I could thank you for, but I hope you know, not just on your birthday, but always, just how much I love, respect, and admire you. Thank you for being the best mom ever.