Dear Mom, thank you.

Mom,

There are no words to describe the gratitude I hold in my heart for everything you’ve done, the selfless attitude you possess, and the endless love you devote to the people in your life. Today, we celebrate all of the incredible ways you have helped shape your children into driven, passionate, hardworking individuals and how you continue to amaze me in so many ways.

When I was little, you were at every single one of my dance recitals, soccer games, basketball games, and track meets. It never occurred to me until later in life that some moms aren’t there, supporting their child at everything they do because with you, I hadn’t known anything else. I remember you sitting through dress rehearsals for recitals and many times three to four shows a weekend just to see me perform on stage and do what I love. Willing and ready at any point to touch-up my hair, run to get me something to eat, or touch up a costume (even well into my high school years when I was more than capable of executing these tasks by myself). You woke up with me at the crack of dawn during my early school years, helped me get ready for the day, braided my hair (even though the majority of the time I would freak out that it was either too loose or too tight and start crying), made me breakfast every single morning, and saw me off to school.

 

You spoil(ed) Ridge, Reece, Morgan, and myself in so many ways. From making our beds, picking up our rooms (even when we should have done it ourselves because you couldn’t stand them being dirty), doing countless loads of laundry on a weekly basis (and still doing my laundry now when I bring it home on my days off), to financially supporting any dream of ours big or small because you want(ed) to see us accomplished and happy. This is truly just skimming the surface and in my opinion, there’s no way to ever repay you for all the wonderful things you’ve done to enrich our lives. Whether they’ve been small gestures or large efforts on your behalf, know each and every thing you do is sincerely appreciated.

When asked in my pageant interviews over the past five years, “who is your role model?” My answer is always you, every single time. Why? Because I am completely and utterly amazed at how one person can spread herself so thin, to the point of exhaustion, but still have a smile on her face and the energy to share the kindness that resides in her heart. For years you’ve worked extremely long and late hours, but even when you go to bed at ungodly hours in the morning you always manage to wake up bright and early to say good morning, share hugs and kisses, and make sure we have everything we need before leaving the house (with maybe four hours of sleep, but that’s pushing it). You always put others before yourself, even when you’re sleep deprived, in pain, or physically sick, you’re the one trying to figure out what you can do to make someone else’s life a little easier. You are one in a million and I’m so incredibly lucky enough to call you mom.

 

As I’ve grown older, more and more people tell me how much I look just like you and act like you; this is one of the greatest compliments I could ever receive. I still remember one night I was moping the entryway floor of Pizza Hut in Wisconsin Rapids (where I worked in high school) when I woman came in and stopped dead in her tracks. She looked at me and said, “You have to be Tina Ironside’s daughter.” Knowing you in high school she had an instant flashback and without me having to say one word, she knew. As I’ve grown older, graduated from college, and embarked on a new, adult chapter in life, I catch myself saying things on a regular basis and thinking, “I sound like my mom.” With that realization almost always comes a smile because I truthfully couldn’t think of anyone else I’d want to be like than you.

Thank you doesn’t begin to express how appreciative I am for all that you’ve done and all that you do. I am beyond blessed to have such a strong, loving mother, twin, role model, and friend by my side in this crazy journey called life. If I can some day be half the woman and mother you are, that will be one hell of an accomplishment, but I know it’s possible because I’ve learned from the best. IMG_7199With all my heart,

Your peanut, mini-me, and princess

XO

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