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You are my hero - To my mom on Mother's Day

Dear Mom - Where do I start?  You brought me life, which is arguably the greatest gift that anyone can give.  I fully realize how difficult I was to raise, even though there were plenty of laughs and good times.  I was a highly intelligent and sensitive kid with a lot of questions (and a rapier wit, too, right?).  Now that I have a boy like this in my house, I know the challenges that it can present sometimes.  He keeps me on my toes, as I know I did for you. 

We went through a lot of tough stuff when I was in my early teens, as you well know.  Although we both struggled mightily to maintain our sanity with an abusive and immature man under our roof, I think weathering that storm together made our relationship much stronger.  You are one of my best friends.  I love you dearly, and I love seeing the grandmother that you have become.  You always were the "cool mom" and you probably knew that already, and now you are the "cool grandma".  I am happy that my kids know you so well and that you have been an integral part of their upbringing thus far.

I was able to watch you take care of your parents as they aged and we mourned their passing from this world.  Obviously, I was comforted by their faith and by the assurance that we will see them again someday.  Now that we are caring for Jackie in our home, I would like to think that I learned a powerful lesson from you on this point, and that my kids are learning the same thing.  As I have told you before, you won't have to worry about whether I will be there to care for you when you get older.

I wanted to publicly thank you for teaching me how to have compassion for those in need.  Your lifetime of service in social work has been inspiring.  I have jokingly told you that I would have considered social work if it paid better, but there is a truth underlying this that I know you recognize.  I have done my best to carry this torch you passed to me as a child.  I hope to see this develop in my own kids, and I have seen signs of this already in them.  You are quite probably the most caring person that I have ever met, and it goes beyond your career. 

You are a loyal friend as well, and this is a very admirable trait.  I have tried to view my friendships with a long-term perspective in mind because I have seen the value of lifetime friends by watching you and your friends.

I have never doubted for an instant that you unconditionally love me, even when I have done some wildly stupid things over the years, especially in my late teens.  You have never judged, just nudged me in the right direction in a pragmatic way. 

Overall, I guess I'm happy that I can really be myself around you, not some censored and cleaned-up version of me.  You know pretty much all of the stuff that I have struggled with, and I can't imagine that I would be the man I am today if you weren't my mom.

I love you.  I know I say it every time we are getting off the phone with each other, but I wanted you to know that I really mean it.  You're awesome - thanks for being there, always.

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