It was during kindergarten that I first remember you standing up for me in a way that might have embarrassed other kids. I was an introverted bundle of nerves that somehow managed to make a few friends only to find myself in a lunch period with none of them. You came to the school and talked to the principal to request my schedule be changed.
From the moment you began making breakfast while simultaneously packing our lunches to the moment when you finally sat down to read a little before bed, you did nothing but serve your family. Between the duties of raising four children and working side-by-side with your husband to run the family business, you barely had a moment to breathe. But when we needed you, you always made time. If I needed a ride to school, you made time. If I needed supplies for a school project, you made time. If I needed help with my math homework, you made time. You taught me to respect others, appreciate what I have, and that the only thing I should ever hate is the word hate.
You've been one of the main supporters of my writing aspirations from the very beginning. You urged me to follow my heart and work hard for what I wanted. And without that support, I would've likely given up many years ago. I've written a total of ten books to date, one of which you even edited for me. I can't say enough about what your support has done for my writing career.
More than all of that, however, you have been a living breathing example of what Christianity is truly all about. You taught me that the first and most important commandment is to love others. I've seen you volunteer for charity work, give stuffed toys to children's hospitals, bring strangers into your home, and most of all, care for your husband during his final years.
Morality is no longer "in" these days. It has been rejected by a society bored of chivalry and consumed by a culture that revels in self-adulation. True heroes are all but extinct. Yet, were I to be asked for my definition of a hero, I'd point my finger squarely at you.
I owe you everything I have and everything I am. You are a counselor and a teacher. A barber and a cook. A nurse and a cheerleader. A fighter and a defender. A friend and a mentor.
You're my mother.
And you're my hero.
With all my love, respect, and gratitude,