A/N: I'm kinda stealing this idea from my sister, who did the same thing for my parents for Christmas, but it's the only thing I could think of for an appropriate Mother's Day gift. I love you, Mom…

Happy Mother's Day

There's no amount of gifts or cards to thank you for the wonderful mother you've been. There's no price you can place on what an amazing inspiration you've given to your daughters.

I know you think we when were little, you were a bad mother. But all I remember, other than the punishments I did deserve for being a bad little girl, are the times you kissed my boo-boos and picked me up when I was feeling down. Like the time I was doing cartwheels in the house and hit my shin on the metal chair in the computer room and even though you were upset with me for doing gymnastics inside, you raced me to the hospital's ER to make sure I didn't need a cast. Or the time I was so sick, when I kept convulsing, you took me in my scared and crying stupor to the hospital: I thought I was dying, but you kept me calm and tried to make me smile. Or what about the time when I was about three and tried to move that concrete block by myself to set up my imaginary kitchen at Grandma's house; I'd seen Daddy and Papaw move blocks just like that a million times so I thought it would be easy…I just barely missed breaking my toe and I got a paper doll from my Mommy to make me feel better.

I remember all the tryouts for cheerleading and volleyball, which I sucked at and didn't make the teams. After every failure, you made me feel better. I remember being so nervous after Show Choir tryouts and running through the rain from the doors of the school where the lists were posted…I'd made it and I couldn't wait to tell you all about it! You came to every band concert and competition…the parade for mini-band and even the concert we gave at the nursing home, I could see you smiling at me. You're the one who encouraged me to take on that chorus solo in 7th grade and I'm glad you did, because it boosted my self-esteem so much.

When we moved to Brown City, I felt lost without Kaity and Renea, but you made me feel better about being up here. When I became wrapped up in my art, you supported me. When you took me shopping for my sweet 16, I became more myself than ever before, learning how to accentuate my features and dress for my body. If I had a problem, I knew I could come to you and you would listen as I walked myself through it. When I wrote something, I knew you'd be honest about whether it was good or not. I remember calling you at work when I got my acceptance letter to State; I was home sick that day. It was one of the happiest days of my life, and you were there…

You've been there through the bad days, too. I remember when Joey died and you were so scared for me; you grabbed me, and shook me, and told me you weren't losing me. It was honest and truthful and it made me realize that even though he was gone it didn't mean I had to stop living. You took me to grief counseling, and were my shoulder to cry on when Ronnie broke my heart.

I remember the hurt I felt when I told you I wasn't a virgin anymore; you were so disappointed in me. I remember your disgust at my choice in boyfriend for my freshman year of college. You were right; Tim was a waste of time and I wish I had just listened to you instead of defying you when I kept seeing him…it would have saved a lot of tears and two wasted years.

I remember how excited I got when I received my information on working at State: we were at the Laundromat and I was gushing about where I could work and what I could do…it led to a student supervisor job at South Complex's cafeterias, where I worked hard like you taught me to. You supported my change of major to classical studies, where there are like NO jobs available right after graduation. You let me talk about classes and argue my points and enthuse about Greek culture and you let me bounce paper ideas off you for my harder classes.

You were the first person I called when I got into Phi Sigma Pi, and the first person I called when I got my position with IC/Alumni…I had so much passion for it and I feel like it rubbed off on you, when you helped with the golf outing gifts and donated raffle items and dressed like a clown for TTAT. You were incredible and my friends, like always, loved having you around.

And then came Lee. I'm glad you never let me give up on love, because I met the love of my life not two blocks from our home. You told me that you knew the minute you saw me with him he would be the one I married, and you were right. You were such a wonderful help with the plans: you did the flowers, helped with centerpieces, FOUND the bridesmaids dresses, printed the invitations, helped create the programs, bought the little odds and ends for the tables; you made my wedding day perfect and I couldn't have asked for more.

No matter how stressed out I get, you're there. No matter how bad things seem, you make them seem better. I treasure our time together. You're the reason I'm continuing my education: I lost you your chance to continue yours and I want to go as far as I can. You're also the reason I'm studying museum studies; it seems like some of my favorite memories are trips to the museum with you. The GRAM in Grand Rapids and the sculptures we chased all over town…The State Museum in Lansing; I think you and I were the only ones who had a blast that day…The MSU museum was a nice little interlude when we were waiting for a class to start…Our class at the Kresge was so interesting too and I found some wonderful classical artifacts that renewed my love of classical studies.

You're the reason I love ballet; Christmas isn't the same without watching The Nutcracker with you. I love Shakespeare because you loved Shakespeare. The play we saw at State was great and I'm so glad I got to share it with you. Olive Garden will always be our spot, just like it was with you and Grandma.

I know you'll read all this and say, "That's what moms are for." Moms don't always share culture with their kids; they don't always encourage their dreams; they don't always go out of their way for their children's happiness. You've taught me hard work, dedication, determination, to dream big, to try hard, to love with your whole heart, and to appreciate the little things in life. I love history because you were passionate about showing us history; I love art because you liked to take us to see art; I am all that I am because of you and all the examples you set for me. I'm a well rounded person because of all the values you instilled in me. I am a wonderful wife because I watched you. And I know when I have children, I'll be a wonderful mother because I got to see you at work!

Happy Mother's Day to an excellent mother…and to my best friend!