A Birthday Wish To My Mom
You and I have written many letters, notes, and cards over the past twenty something years. Often to each other as we reach milestones in our lives (because we all know that my milestones are just equal to you as they are to me). As I’ve grown older I find that presents our great, but what’s even greater is the gift of communication, Giving words to someone is a truly priceless gift, one that you can keep forever and look back on as time passes and realize how much you’ve grown, or even learn from the past words you’ve written. So this year for your birthday, Gayle gave me the idea to give you words in the form of this post – which is a first for us!
In high school I learned that I loved to write you letters at Christmas. My goal was always to make you cry and I succeeded in that each year. I’d always tell you how much of an influence you were on my life and how happy I was to have you supporting me relentlessly. You missed one of my football games, you worked hard to keep the concession stand running to support my own organization. You always managed to look out for not only me, but the people surrounding me. You made sure that I had everything that I wanted- for the newest clothes and video games to the silly things that you knew would entertain me. I never went without anything, even on the days that I was less than deserving. Your patience and dedication to me in this influential time of my life led me to be a strong and determined girl.
Because of the determination, I ended up at Georgia State University in a new city, a BIG city compared to our small southern town. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have you by my side every day. Our style of communication became so different . Instead of talking face to face every day, we relied on text messages, and calls, and a visit home every other weekend. It was incredibly difficult to be in a new, unfamiliar place, with the added stresses of college classes, and not have my mother there by my side to comfort me. You weren’t there to cook for me, or clean my room, or turn down my bed after a long, hard day. Instead, you were there over the phone, sending me recipes, talking to me in between classes, and teaching me what kind of detergent to buy so I could wash my own clothes ( which I still didn’t end up doing very much!). Because we didn’t see each other as much, our visits in person became even more special and I realized how much I enjoyed spending time with you. You were only my mother for 18 years, but during those next four collegiate years you became so much more than that to me- you became my best friend.
Those college years taught me a ton academically, but you also taught me more during those years than I think you realize. You taught me independence, always knowing when to push me to do things on my own that I wouldn’t normally do on my own. You helped me learn my own strengths, and exactly how to use those to my advantage. You taught me how to better communicate with others, and how to always be a good friend and a better member of my community. You taught me how to prioritize things in my life to give myself a better future. You picked me up on one of the hardest days of my life and taught me how to handle real, true grief and suffering. Then you taught me to chase my dreams and pursue my own happiness. Without that lesson, I never would have ended up here, working at Walt Disney World. Without that lesson, I would have never met Zack who introduced us to Gayle and is the entire reason I am writing this for all the world to see.
So here we are. We live 547 miles away from each other every single day. I am living out my dream here at Disney. I have an amazing home and roommates, and incredible friends and co-workers. Above all of those incredible things, I still have you. We don’t talk as often or as much anymore, but our conversations are always more meaningful and our visits our always more meaningful because when we do talk and see each other, we can spend time appreciating one another as friends and as people. You don’t have to teach me as many lessons anymore, although you have definitely have helped me to learn a few things on my own over the past couple of years! I am learning to be my own person and I finally found happiness in myself and my surroundings. Without you MOM, none of this would have been possible. All the things you have given me and supported me with over the years have led me to this place and I am so thankful to you for helping me get there. And even on those rough days, knowing that you are just a phone call away gives me peace.
Thank you for being an amazing mother and best friend. I hope you have the most amazing birthday today and I can’t wait to “see ya real soon!”
I LOVE YOU,