My mom adventures in Fort Collins

A love fest for all the mommas
May 9, 2014, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Family | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This weekend is Mother’s Day and it’s a sweet holiday for those of us in mommy-land. My world of construction paper cards and hand-made gifts is still alive and active, and I’m grateful for extra squeezes or kisses that are thrown my way.

But this post is a love-letter to all the fellow mommas that are out there. I appreciate your wisdom and your hard work. When you model love & respect with your kiddos, it encourages me. When you laugh with your loved ones or tell stories about the humor in it all, it inspires me. When you show your grit and have to do the heart-wrenching dirty work (like leaving the grocery store with a half-full cart after an epic meltdown), you make me feel a sense of “I’m not alone.” Motherhood is a place where I readily acknowledge that I too am being stretched and squeezed in new and different ways. And it’s so nice to have such a lovely community of people to share in this hard work. Thank you, mommas.

If you are a mom, if you are a step-mom, an auntie, a “like-a-mom,” a kind & generous neighbor, a heart-warming church-goer that smiles at all the kids in your pew, if you are a grandmother or a generous caregiver, if you nanny or baby-sit, if you act as a surrogate mom, if you have a furry friend or a feathered friend that you are mom to, if you’ve adopted, if you’ve dreamed of one day having a child, if you tend a garden like a mother, and every possible Mom-like individual on the planet, I want you to feel the love on this holiday. Because this is a holiday to celebrate the love of a mother.

And I hope that each of us can think of a handful of “moms” that give this title a grand connotation–one of kindness, nurturing, support and unconditional love.

As you go about your work of mothering, I hope you feel camaraderie. I hope you feel a sense of something bigger. This tending of loved ones is hard work and the accolades can sometimes come infrequently. But for all of us out there, making lunches and matching socks (are there any of those kinds of moms left?), running herd and shuttling the mom-bus, let’s give each other a high five and celebrate all this parenting we do.

This is me, sending all of you gentle thoughts of love and community. Keep on doing this hard work, mommas. It’s inspiring!

Me and my littles, from last Saturday

Me and my littles, from last Saturday


There once was an age-appropriate bully

Yesterday morning, I spent time talking with some women that I know through my daughter’s preschool. Often, we talk about children, the school, being a parent and some of the struggles that go along with this journey. These are wise women, and I value their opinions. Today, a particular story was relayed, and the word “bully” came up. These women proposed that a four-year-old could not be a “bully.”

I did a bit of reading, and it appears that most people agree that a child of preschool age cannot be a bully. It’s actually age-appropriate for kids in this age group to act out when they don’t get what they want, and it differs from bullying because of our expectations. We know that children in early childhood are just beginning to learn how to appropriately interact with their peers, so we cut them some slack when they don’t share, hit, get stompin’ mad, kick, bite, manipulate, act aggressively, steal toys, exclude others, etc. We anticipate that young children are going to test out the training wheels as they go. Like a few adults I know, children are still learning these valuable social and emotional skills. It’s not necessarily acceptable for children to act like this, and we do need to encourage different behaviors, but it is age-appropriate. Basically, it’s preschool, and it’s one of the few safe places these children have to test out these behaviors (and then try again).

Nonetheless, this story and the word “bully” did trigger a memory for me. I myself have called a four-year-old a bully. I may not be completely accurate, but the definition of “bully” is

a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker

Yep…That about sums up a lot of little kids, doesn’t it?

Two years ago, my daughter Scout was a four-year-old in a Pre-K class of 18 kiddos. Of these kids, 12 were boys and 6 were girls. Perhaps the small number of girls led to some of the difficulties that arose, and like many a mom with a firstborn guinea pig before me, I went into this whole thing a bit naive. First, I got a report from a parent that I knew and trusted about some exclusionary play in the classroom by a specific little girl. Then, I was approached by a different parent, saying that she stepped in and reminded this little girl that we always let everyone play. I was reluctant to buy into these second-hand accounts, but as time went on I noticed some of this behavior myself. My daughters have both attended the same co-op preschool, and a benefit of the co-op model is that I’m often in and around the classroom and I can get to know their classmates quite well. The entire time that this exclusionary behavior was going on, my daughter would sing this little girl’s praises. She loved this girl. When I would pick Scout up from school, she’d be sure to point out what this little girl was wearing, or what toy this little girl had brought to share with the class.  For me, the culmination of this entire prolonged episode was when my daughter had created a picture for the girl and gave it to her as a gift. This little girl threw away the picture in front of my daughter at pick-up time. I saw the entire exchange, and the look on Scout’s face said it all. I looked in the bin and I looked at Scout. I said, “Honey, did you make that? Do you want to keep that?” Scout said, “Yes.” I pulled the item out of the garbage and reclaimed it. Then, this little girl stated without an ounce of guilt, “Wait, that’s mine!” I calmly explained that she threw it away and had forfeited her right to take the item home.

I went home that day hopped up on anger and pride. I knew what this little girl did to my daughter was wrong. Mean. Selfish. Nasty. I was so horrified, I don’t think that I knew what to say or do.

Then, suddenly I knew EXACTLY what to do. I was going to approach that little girl’s mom and invite them over for a playdate.

When I had worked for a children’s advocacy organization years earlier, I worked with an amazing woman. Peg had raised six kids, been aunt to many that were actually here nieces & nephews as well as countless others who had come across her path. Peg had worked with children in the child welfare system and juvenile justice system for years. Peg was a FRIEND of children. Not only did I trust Peg’s insight as a parent, I valued her life experience. I remember Peg telling me that when her kids complained about a child at school, she always listened. “So-and-so smells! She wears the same clothes every day!” “So-and-so is always so mean to me!” “I can’t stand so-and-so, he’s always making things difficult.” Pretty soon, she’d be inviting that kid–the kid that was so offensive to her own child–over for dinner.

Now, I don’t know that Peg was able to have every one of these children over for dinner–it would seem the invitee would have to accept the invitation. I do know that her approach changed my thinking on the subject. When my child is offended or hurt, my “Momma Bear” is awakened. Sometimes, I get so caught up in the hurt, I forget to question why Momma Bear got her heart broken in the first place: Love. I love my child, and when her heart breaks, mine does too. When you love someone, you want the best for them. I only wanted for my child to have a kind and safe friendship, one that didn’t make her feel left out.

By setting up a playdate with the little girl that had been excluding my child, I believe that I created two opportunities: 1) the kids could play and 2) I could chat with the mom. When  this little girl came over, she played nicely with both of my daughters. I do not recall anything inappropriate about the way that they interacted together. This gave me the chance to see that this little girl was just a typical five-year-old girl, with cute laughter and wide eyes. I stopped imagining her as the “Mean Girl” I had built her up to be. As for the mother, I learned more about their life and her story, and I felt a great deal of compassion for both mother and daughter. Everyone has a story. I never disclosed what had been happening in the classroom. I never confronted mother or daughter, and I tried to have faith that the as the story unfolded, I would know what to do.

Turns out, all I had to do was have a little girl over for a playdate. These girls didn’t go on to become best friends. We never wound up having another playdate, though the mom offered to have my kids over and it just never worked out schedule-wise. But the exclusionary behavior ended. Admittedly, these were girls in a Pre-K classroom. These were not middle schoolers being bullied for their appearance or sexual orientation. This approach is not the only approach, and it would not appeal to everyone, but the basic sentiment is the same: Instead of being offended and defensive, is there a space to be more vulnerable and loving?

Anytime you make yourself vulnerable, you allow for growth. Most of us don’t need to teach our kids how to be offended and defensive, that seems innate. But my daughter taught me something amid the exclusionary behavior. It was as if she didn’t have that sense of self-preservation that causes adults to recoil when we see such behavior. Despite being excluded and hurt, Scout still wanted this little girl to be her friend. So, I let this child of mine, with a heart so big it can scarcely fit in her chest, guide me. My grown-up sensibility would have said, “Just don’t play with this girl! She’s mean!” But Scout’s kind eyes saw what I couldn’t see–maybe this girl was just a little girl, a little girl who was acting in an age-appropriate and yet unacceptable manner. Maybe I needed to give this girl Forever Chances. Maybe there is always room for more love, more growth.

What about you? Do you have a story about love and growth? Did anyone ever surprise you by just being a five-year-old afterall?

Another Gratitude Post: 19 Things I’m Thankful For

Once I set out to accomplish something, it’s hard to get me to set down the baton and admit the race is over. Furthermore, I’ve publicly announced my goal, so there is no stopping me now–the fact that Thanksgiving has been over for 3 months means NOTHING to me. Two more posts about gratitude… after this one.

Since it is the nineteenth of the posts on gratitude, why not go for “Nineteen things that I am thankful for RIGHT NOW”?

1. Ruby is a bit sick, but she’s holding it together rather well. She keeps calling her cough a “Naughty Cough” which is mostly inexplicable but quite hilarious. I can only hope that we don’t all get Ruby’s Naughty Cough. But if we do, we will shame it into submission.

2. Cory did the dishes for me tonight. I have been trying to convince him for several years that he should get around to doing this a bit more, and lo and behold it is WORKING. Turns out nagging DOES work.

3. I am thankful for my friend Polly who took a very long walk with me in the sunshine today. Today was a glorious day, and it was made all the more lovely by the river, the sound of a meadowlark, and connecting with a good friend.

4. I am grateful to both Ruby & Scout for a good–I’d even say GREAT–morning around here that didn’t involve any yelling. Woohoo!

5. I am grateful for The Cellar, and I’m especially grateful to their employee Becca who directed me to a delicious red wine that I am sipping presently.

6. I am grateful for my health, and that of my family. My dad is healthy, my mom is healthy, and though they both have their issues, we are NOT where we were last year at this time.

7. I am grateful to people who have a sense of humor, like whoever took the time to make this:

8. I am grateful for a warm, safe house. After a gorgeous day with temperatures in the 50s, I find myself suddenly feeling chilled to the bone after the weather turned cold.

9. I am grateful to Mary Pope Osborn, and the great work that she does that has entertained my children so much in recent months. Jack & Annie are almost real people around here, I think Scout even asked if we could look for Frog Creek, Pennsylvania on a map.

10. I’m grateful for my Secret Sister. Secret Sister is this thing we do at my daughter’s preschool, sort of like Secret Santa but all year round. My SS gifted me Enstrom’s toffees. If you’ve never had such a delicious treat, check them out here.

11. I am grateful to my sweet hubby, who is currently gearing my kiddos up in the living room something like this:IMG_4718

12. I am grateful for good books. I read a lovely one recently called The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It’s a story about a young woman who aged out of the foster care system. Also important to the story: this woman communicates in the Victorian-era “Language of Flowers,” where a red rose means romantic love and a thistle means misanthropy. If you’re at all curious, there is a great interview with the author here:

13. I am grateful for coffee. EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE.

14. I am grateful for my sweet niece who turns 8 today. Years ago, on the day she was born, Cory and I drove up to Cheyenne, Wyoming so that we could catch a glimpse of her. Seems hard to believe that she’s now so mature, when it doesn’t seem that long ago I held her in my arms.

15. I am grateful for small favors, like when someone holds the door for you while you’re carrying something or when you find exactly what you’re looking for at the grocery store without having to wind your way back to an aisle that you inadvertently forgot.

16. I am grateful for The Mindy Project, which is not coming back until April 1st, but I can be patient a bit longer. PLEASE, please, please, Danny, DO NOT SCREW IT UP. You either, Mindy!

17. I am so incredibly grateful for the teachers at my daughter’s elementary school. Her kindergarten teacher returned today from a 3-month maternity leave, and the long-term-sub was such a gem in her absence. The other kindergarten teachers and the paras pitched in so incredibly well. I feel so fortunate that there are so many kind people who are out in the world working with these littles and teaching them about life and literacy and how to hang your snowpants up.

18. I am grateful for my church, a place of community and love. The pastor recently gave a sermon on “Faithfully Side Stepping Tradition”–about welcoming EVERYONE.

19. I am grateful for it all, this messy, imperfect, bittersweet life. I am not a person that exudes joy in every step, or pretends that all is well when indeed it is falling apart (as it often does in parenthoodland), but I think I can honestly say that there is nowhere I’d rather be than right here in this place.

Do you have something that you are grateful for RIGHT NOW? 

Fair enough, independence seekers

It’s been a snowy winter and I can’t help feeling attached to home, wanting to hunker down and avoid the elements. The snow is gorgeous when the sun makes it sparkle just so, but today is gray and unshiny. And even when it is magical, I enjoy it through the window just fine. I’ve read books, done some crafting, drank lots of coffee and tea, enjoyed some soup, watched movies–all the many perks of a snowy winter.

AND I’ve been taking jaunts in the neighborhood–to get Scout to and from school, not for fun or anything like that.

The walk looks something like this:

IMG_4518Well, the walk looks like that when it’s a good walk. Sometimes the walk looks like this:

IMG_4542You see, it’s cold outside. And not everyone enjoys that part about the cold. For some, it would seem, Snow=fun AND Cold=misery. You can understand the conundrum, right? Feeling compelled to play in the snow, one is suddenly surprised about 15 minutes into all that fun that the white fluffy snow turns oddly harsh and uncomfortable. Ruby’s relationship with snow is further compounded by her love of  snacking on the stuff (the pretty white snow, NEVER the yellow or dirty snow). Imagine her face when she realizes the stuff is driven up her sleeves and into her boots… Well, I think you can SEE the look on her face in the above photo. 

The other day, Ruby and I were walking back from school after dropping Scout off. I was trying to keep her occupied with a quasi-snowball fight, when I noticed an elderly neighbor struggling to shovel her driveway. I asked Ruby to wait for a second while I approached this woman. I had no previous contact with this lady, and she had her back turned to me, so I tried to call out, “Excuse me” so I wouldn’t startle her. When she turned around, she was surprised (I doubt she heard me coming). Our exchange went something like this:

  • Excuse me? Can I do that for you?
  • What? [She looked mortified.] Why would I want you to do that?
  • [I probably looked rather startled.]
  • [She continued.] Well, there’s ice over there, and you could fall and slip.
  • [I glanced down at my suitable boots.] Well, all the same, I’d be happy to help you.
  • [The woman pauses.] No. I don’t want you to. I need the exercise.
  • [I back away.] Fair enough.

After this odd exchange, I turned back and collected Ruby. Ruby then said, “She didn’t want to have a snowball fight with us?”

Ruby’s sweet comment pulled me out of my fog and I laughed. We continued walking back home through the snow. All the same, I couldn’t help pondering why this communication was so abrupt and uncomfortable. I surmised that this woman must look forward to snow shovelling; perhaps shovelling snow is her greatest love in life. I tried not to take it too personally, but I had to admit: I got my feelings hurt. I am a helper/pleaser-type, and, if I’m honest, I would have really enjoyed helping this woman clear her drive. That she rebuffed my offer did sting a bit.

I shared this story with Cory, with my mom, with a close friend, and, feeling compelled by something at church, I shared it with my close-knit Crosswalk community (though, afterwards I had this regret that I shouldn’t have shared it because it didn’t really relate to what we were talking about all that much, oh well, they’re churchy people, so they have to forgive me for being tangential).

In sharing this, people seemed to have these general thoughts:

  • The lady is a crabbyappleton
  • I shouldn’t take it personally
  • Perhaps this woman is struggling with aging and she wants to assert her independence over something she can still do
  • [And my favorite] Maybe the AARP is advertising about a scam where a stranger approaches you and asks to shovel your driveway, then falls and sues you for all you’re worth

But here’s what I know, after wrestling with my ego: The exchange I had with this woman was purposeful. I’d even go so far as to say she was sent to me to deliver a powerful message. This woman was a stranger to me, and I offered her help. By suggesting that she needed help, I didn’t intend to undermine her abilities but perhaps that’s how it was perceived. When she said that she didn’t want my help, I respected that. It hurt a bit, but I respected her wishes and I backed away. Incidentally, I drove by her house later that day and saw that her entire driveway and walkway were clean as a whistle. She KNEW she could do it, she WANTED to do it, and she didn’t want my assistance.

You know who else this reminded me of?IMG_4537Yep, this girl.

My sweet girl. Scout is everything you would ever want in a little girl–sweet, kind, helpful, funny, creative–but, when she asserts her independence it is a Hummer not a VW bug coming down the street.

During the Crosswalk service that I attended, there was a parable of the 99 sheep retold as a modern parable of a Lost Emporer Penguin. The penguin was stranded far away from home and the community rallied to help it. Our pastor encouraged us to think of God’s love as the extravagant, abundant love that these strangers showered on this poor penguin, who misguidedly filled his belly with sand and required surgery to save his life.

What is life-saving to this penguin is the attentive love of those who found him stranded on the beach. But love is not limited to attention and assistance. What is life-saving to some, including my big girl, is a love that encourages her independence. My own need to “help” should not overshadow her need to assert her independence. My “helping” actually undermines her, rather than assists her.

Here’s my lesson: BACK AWAY, MOM. (In the nicest way possible.)

I must respect others autonomy and give them the space to complete their tasks without my help. I shudder to think… I’m THAT Mom, the one that hovers and tries to “help” when really I’m hindering.

Thank you, neighbor lady, for teaching me what I hope will be a valuable lesson. The extravagant, abundant love that I must give my children is to BACK OFF. This will sometimes look like allowing them to wield their own knives, wrap presents with an entire dispenser of tape, assemble their own homework packets without ever putting it in their backpacks, forget hats & gloves, dress themselves in inappropriate clothing, make a scrap heap of several reams of computer paper, make a mess in the kitchen and leave the caps off an infinite amount of markers, but it is love nonetheless.

21-Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 14

I am continuing the Gratitude Challenge from Today’s prompt asks, “When Has Nature Taken Your Breath Away?”

I’m fortunate to live in an area where nature’s beauty is ubiquitous and I reap the benefits of nature often. I think that nature frequently makes me a calmer, more gracious person. Bright sunshine, blue skies and mountain skylines have that effect on a lot of people.

However, what the question asks is when has nature taken my breath away? That is asking about a wholly different, much more special experience of nature .

I posted a few words about our trip to Yellowstone National Park (YNP) this past summer, and that’s a recent experience that immediately comes to mind. I think my thoughts on YNP essentially make me sound like a dummy who finally got my face out of my phone, took off the earbuds, and paid attention to the world around her (oh, and I don’t even actually own any of those gadgets), but I’m going to say it anyway: Yellowstone is so completely wacky and amazing, a juxtaposition of classic beauty and unique peculiarities. I visited that place and declared, “Wow. I like nature and I thought I knew nature, but THIS is nature like I’ve never seen before.” It is akin to a journey that takes you to an alpine gloryland followed by a visit to an alternative planet of foul smelling geothermal oddities, as if the sweet, gorgeous Mother Nature is digesting her lunch right below your very feet. And this says nothing of the bison, elk and bears that just hang out in this deeply wild land.

The majesty of the Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park

The stunning Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park

But another place of utter majesty that comes to mind is the Grand Canyon. Now, admittedly, I’ve not hiked the Bright Angel Trail or taken in the off-the-beaten-path Grand Canyon. I’ve never done much but drive around the southern rim and take in the view. Essentially, I’ve only done the McGrand  Canyon, when there is a bounty of endless gourmet meals. But all the same, when you sit at the edge of that seemingly-endless canyon and attempt to fathom the wonders of geology and time, it is nothing but amazing. When folks talk about the Clark Griswold version of viewing the Grand Canyon (basically, a quick look and a nod to acknowledge the beauty), I can laugh along with them, but deep in my heart I know this canyon is special. This canyon is magnificent.

One of the many views of the southern rim of the Grand Canyon

One of the many views from the southern rim of the Grand Canyon

For me, this talk of nature and majesty goes hand in hand with my spirituality. I find God in nature, and nature can conjure up very intense feelings for me. If there is one very intense way to experience nature and God, well, there is this:

tickercheckAnd this:

img_4805The intersection of love and God and nature? That is an incredible, awe-inspiring, knee-buckling place, and it’s only fitting that gratitude would live in that place, too.

21-Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 12

Today’s prompt asks, “What Is The Best Mistake You Ever Made?”

I really pondered this one, and I had a difficult time coming up with something that wasn’t too personal to share. I have a few least favorite mistakes, and just because I’m grateful for the knowledge I gained as a result of those mistakes, I can’t say they are my best mistakes.

Really crummy mistakes make me cringe a little bit. Well, a lot, actually.

But the best mistakes? Those make me smile.

  • One time, I traveled a thousand miles to attend the wedding of a high school friend. I couldn’t truly afford the ticket (I was a poor student) and I had a very tight work schedule (it was a seasonal position that offered no vacation days), but I went anyway. My two girlfriends and I walked in late to the reception. After finding our table, we chatted with the folks seated with us–a few were single dudes that were friends of the groom. One of the guys at our table was a cutie that had  driven his Harley out from Colorado to the wedding. His name is Cory, and he’s still pretty cute.
    This is from the night we first met... [Cue: Awwww]

    This is from the night we first met [Ignore people making out in the background]

    This one is a bit more recent, and I think you can see the resemblance.

    This one is a bit more recent, and I can thank Darcy Carter for this photo

  • Almost exactly a year ago, Cory had a family emergency and had to be out-of-town for our daughter’s “Dad & Me Night” at preschool. I filled in, and Scout had informed me that we should wear pajamas. I didn’t think much of this request, since I had attended two “Mom & Me Night” functions, and both times we wore our pajamas. I showed up that night as the only adult female (other than the teacher) and the only one (other than my daughter) in my pajamas. Understandably, Scout felt a little out-of-place, so we bailed and spent an hour doing our “Mom-filling-in-for-Dad Night” out at Target, buying Ruby’s birthday gift. The next day, when I dropped Scout off at school, a little girl walked straight up to me and said, “I know you! You were the only mom at Dad & Me Night!” And I said, “Yep, that was me.” Then the little girl said, “And you were wearing your PAJAMAS!”
  • It was winter of 1995-1996, and some college friends and I had heard that Keanu Reeves was filming a movie downtown. We waited outside of his trailer like the sweet little schoolgirls that we were. For hours we waited in the cold, and when we finally saw him, we asked him for a photo (which he politely obliged). Sad thing was he looked like garbage and it completely cured me of any celebrity-crush fascination from then on.
    I mean, seriously? Couldn't he have de-bloated himself that day knowing that it would be the only time I'd ever even do something dumb like this?

    I mean, seriously? Couldn’t he have de-bloated himself that day knowing that it would be the only time I’d ever even do something dumb like this?


Those are just a few of the best mistakes that I’ve made, and I’m most certainly grateful for them. If you are following along with the Gratitude Challenge on, then tell me how this adventure has been for you.

21-Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 3

Today’s prompt for the gratitude challenge included this link to a story that is equal parts amazing and inspiring. It is the story of Shelagh, but it’s also the story of a journalist who pieced together Shelagh’s life after her sudden death.

Shelagh, as far as I can tell, is an angel that walked amongst us.

Do you know those people?

I must be lucky, because I feel like I know many of these folks. They appear to be just regular old human beings, but they’re really angels. If you passed them on the street, they wouldn’t warrant a second glance. They look like normal folks, but on the inside they are carrying hearts full of love and minds full of wisdom.

Everyone has a story, so it’s said. It’s shocking how once you hear a person’s story, it often connects you to them in a new and formidable way. See a person at church every week, then hear that they lost their two-year-old to a freak accident. Wow. Pass a neighbor’s house daily, then learn that she patiently cares for her elderly mother and a disabled child. Unreal.

I sometimes think about my mom this way. My mom has no letters behind her name, and she has never traveled outside of the U.S. She never wrote a novel or hiked the Appalachian trail. The American rubrics of “Success” are all absent from her life: small house, simple car, no significant bank account. As far as I can tell, though, she is one of the kindest people on the planet. She sends me newspaper clippings of articles she thinks I’ll find interesting. While I studied abroad as a college student, she saved each of my emails (sent to a colleague, because she didn’t even have an account at the time) and compiled them in a binder. Her telephone voice is so pleasant that while growing up friends calling my house would ask if she worked for the phone company. Before her granddaughters come to visit, she asks me for a detailed shopping list that should include cereal boxes and snack food. She alerts me to family-member’s birthdays and anniversaries so that I might have a jump start on gathering a greeting card. Just today, she consulted me with worry in her voice–thinking she may have just purchased a present for Scout that would be a duplicate of something she already has, all ready to return it for a more perfect gift. She is exceptionally good at holding babies, and she would rather clean my kitchen than sit and relax during her time away from her own home. She taught me how to pray, but never claimed to have all the answers. She is humble and generous, and she makes time for herself by enjoying a glass of wine every so often. My mom is thoughtful and kind and she loves to make other people happy. Additionally, she’s been a caretaker to my dad this past year while he went through an intense medical procedure and long-term rehabilitation, and she did this while still maintaining a full-time job.

Oh, and she’s also a cryer, so I should warn her about this post before she sees it.

I am grateful for all of the people that cross my path and share their stories. I am humbled and bettered by their tales of struggle and growth. Most people are just simply amazing, and we don’t always know it. Today I’m especially grateful for my mom.