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I’m a self-proclaimed daddy’s girl and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I adore my father, he was and will always be my hero, but I’ll always love my mama.

Relationships between mother and daughters can often be difficult at best and ours seemed to be especially challenging. My mother says I favored my father from birth and indeed, my first recollections are filled with only my daddy, often vying with my mother for his undivided attention.

If our family was compared to a building; my father would have definitely been the foundation but my mother was in charge of keeping the structure intact. And she still is. But I didn’t realize that growing up.

In fact, it took most of my life and becoming a mother myself to admit what a special and substantial role my mother played in my life. Sacrifice for the welfare of her family was in her every breath and it is now as an adult, now that I can talk to my mama – woman to woman – that I cherish and appreciate all that she did for us. And I understand it because I would do the same for my children.

Mother’s presence was a given. She put her nursing career on hold to stay home and raise her two girls. She was our family’s safe haven, our port in the storm of scraped knees, puberty, high school drama and broken hearts. All of us soon learned that we were the focus of our mother’s life, her “career”. She was fully devoted and dedicated to making our home a place where we would be nurtured into adults, fortified to face the world.

Lessons from my mother came in many ways. Some lessons I mastered and accepted easily, without question. Others I challenged. All served to mold and shape me through the breadth and depth of her love.

She was our biggest cheerleader, whether we succeeded at what we tried or not. She encouraged us to explore the world, to think for ourselves, and to be independent yet compassionate.

As I consider my life, and the lives of my children, I can see the threads of my mom’s lessons weaving themselves into the tapestry of our family. They continue to appear in various patterns, uniquely sewn into the fabric of who we are.

It has been said that daughters “become” their mothers as they grow older, and many times I see myself reflecting on the qualities of mine. I feel good about this–particularly when the positive aspects of her character show forth. Nothing would please me more than to have my own children say they see the same qualities in me–availability, steadfastness, devotion, diligence, encouragement, faithfulness and love. To pass these lessons on would be a blessing to me — a fruitful legacy in them, and their children as well.

When I look at who I have become as an adult, I see my mother’s fingerprints all over me. As I said, I adore my father but I’ll always love my mama. Happy Mother’s Day.