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You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.
– Desmond Tutu

I am so grateful for my Mother.   She is not perfect, but she is amazing.  She did the best that she could and taught me many great lessons throughout my life.  She is a two time breast cancer survivor.  She is my inspiration.

She has led the most interesting life.  She was the youngest girl in a family of 13 children.  Her adventures range from having her first child at the tender age of 18, to joining the Marines, to a career as a dancer and entertainer, to a career as an artist and an art teacher.  She is incredibly creative and talented.  In between all of this – she managed to raise five kids and two step kids.  She did things with her own style, in the best way that she could, with her head held high.  She lost my oldest brother when he was 13 in a car accident.  Some of the things she has endured in her life, I can’t even imagine.  She has seen both the beauty in life and the devastation.  Now, at an age that she won’t let me disclose publically, she continues to sparkle and shine, despite the curveballs that life has thrown her way.

She came to visit last week with my sister Tricia and my four nieces……it was a beautifully messy and chaotic week, with 12 people in our house – seven kids running around and loving being with their cousins.  Mom is a trooper, there she was, in the midst of the noise and the chaos with a smile on her face. She hung in for the whole week and had a great, albeit exhausting time.  I’m so blessed that she is still able to travel and see us.  I go to Chicago quite often to visit my family, so I am very grateful when my family will make the effort to come see me and experience my  life with me in my new home.  I know it’s not always an easy trek, but it makes me so happy to see them here in New York!

Now, as an adult, I understand the sacrifices that Mother’s make for their children and I see that it doesn’t end when your kids grow up.  I look at all of the sacrifices that I have made for my step kids and my child to ensure that they feel secure and loved every moment of their lives.  It is not always easy, sometimes it’s very tough, complicated and messy, but I hope that it will all be worth it.

As an adult and Mother of three –  I now appreciate the sacrifices that my Mom made for me……and I am forever grateful.  I had an amazing childhood and I have my parents to thank for that.  They sacrificed a lot so that we could have the best life – full of love.  I can only hope that Sam, Connor and Christopher will look back one day and feel the same.
I love you Mom, thank you.