Today is your birthday. You are 50! I can hardly believe it. I know you are self-conscious and think you're getting old, but I think you're a magnificent, beautiful, and strong woman.
I am so grateful that you are my mother. I remember visiting friends as a child and was confused about why they didn't want to spend every second of the day with their mothers. They would go to extensive lengths to avoid them, and had none of the closeness that we have shared through-out the years. Looking back, I think they were envious of me, because I had the most amazing mother anyone could ever ask for! I know they all thought you were "cool", but that wasn't why they all loved you so. They would watch us and the love and affection that we so easily shared and wish for a piece of that for themselves. Most of my childhood friends ask about you every time I see them, not to be polite, but because they are genuinely concerned and care about your welfare.
For the last few years you have been struggling with an illness that I don't understand. It makes you tired, weak, and unable to do the things that give you joy. I know you feel isolated from the rest of the world. I wish I could take this burden off of your shoulders and make you smile again. I can only imagine the amount of pain you must be feeling, especially when you admit to it because you were never someone who complained to others about your hardships.
You are, undoubtedly, the hardest worker I have ever met. You never did anything half-way, but attacked every task with determination. We never lived in a mansion on the hill, but what we had was clean and well taken care of. You took pride in a clean house, and it showed. Frequently, when someone compliments me on a job well done, I tell them I owe it all to you. Because of you, I know the value of hard work and the pride I can take in what I accomplish.
When we were small, you did whatever you had to do to make sure we had what we needed, as well as your love and support. I know sometimes you have doubts about your parenting, as I'm sure every parent does, but you were always there when we needed it most. Whether it was to laugh with us, hug us when we were sad, or give us "tough love" to point us in the right direction. You gave us all the tools that we would ever need to grow up and be successful adults as well as shaping us into the people we've become. Not only did we learn right from wrong, but also compassion, strength, confidence, love, and trust.
I was not the easiest teenager to live with, I know that now. You always said, "you'll understand when you grow up,"and I do. Through all the mistakes I made, and some of them were pretty big mistakes, you supported me and helped me through all of it. You always threatened to lock me in a closet till I was thirty, but you let me go my own way and live my own life even though sometimes it was against your better judgement. Despite all the freedom I had to become my own person, people still say I turned out like you. Nothing could make me prouder.
So today, I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate you more then you could ever know. I will carry all you've taught me, and the love you've shown me all the days of my life.
Thank-you for being my mother,