Mom and Dad
My mom: My mom has always been a hero to me. When she had little to no money, she left an unhealthy situation and took me with her. She could have left me and escaped to her own freedom, but that's not who my mom is. Thanks to hard work and some help from my amazing grandparents, she set us up a little home in a one bedroom apartment (and eventually in a small home). She worked herself to the bone as a single mom. Every day, she got up and went to a job that barely paid the bills. But I never went hungry. There may have been times when we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for days, but I never went hungry. I attended early-morning care at school at 6 AM and left after-school care at 6 PM every day because my mom worked that hard for us. She's a rock.
Being poor and watching her struggle taught me the value of a dollar and the value of hard work. I am a work horse because she showed me how to be one. I am a mad budgeter because I know what it's like to scrimp and save every penny. And she always put me and my well being first--the quintessential component of motherhood. If I needed new shoes, she'd wear ones with holes. In this and other ways, she taught me about life. If I had a question, no matter how lame or embarrassing, I could always ask her, and she would always give me the most frank, upfront answers. But most of all, she loved me. I am grateful to my mother for all of these lessons and for her unfailing love.
Me and my Mommy
Mom and Me
My dad: My dad came into our lives when I was seven. Actually, scratch that, we knew him earlier. When I was three, he was my mom's boss. I remember going into his office and drawing all sorts of crazy pictures on his whiteboard. For my fourth birthday, he gave me money to go buy my own whiteboard. Sadly, the store we went to didn't have any, so I bought a doll that I named Sasha. Fast forward a few years, and I pointed him out at a store saying, "That's the man who bought me Sasha!" My mom went over and said hello, and they hung out for a while. They started dating and eventually got married. When they wed, I gained a brother (who has since provided me with an awesome sister-in-law and four amazing nieces and nephews), which is really fantastic for an only child.
Me and my bro, Lance
My dad jumped in alongside my mom to teach and guide me. Like her, he kept the lines of communication wide open and never made me feel weird about asking any questions. In fact, he encouraged my questions and intellectual curiosity, and we often engaged in lively debates. My dad shaped my view of the world. He taught me to think for myself and not accept any information without first fleshing out the details. Whereas some people want their children to be mini copies of themselves, my dad encouraged me to be a critical thinker and discover the me I wanted to be. He also taught me an invaluable lesson--don't whine and complain. When I was a teenager, I used to get so mad when he'd tell me I couldn't come complain to him about anything until I'd come up with a solution first. He'd listen to me whine and moan for however long I needed as long as I had a solution or potential solution at the end of my rant. By doing so, he taught me to be a problem solver.
Always a Daddy's girl, no matter how old I am!
But the biggest thing I can't get over is that he chose me. When he met my mom, he could have run the other way because she had a seven-year-old in tow, but he didn't. And not only did he not run, but he loved me and accepted me as his own child. Heaven forbid you refer to me as his stepdaughter...you'll get the holy heck rained down on you. I am his daughter, and he chose to be my father. I can't express how much that means to me.
A song that reminds me of my Dad
My parents: I'm going to miss their 20th anniversary because I'm 3,000 miles away. I last saw them in June, and I won't see them again until the summer of 2016 (that's the longest I've ever gone without seeing them in my whole life). Here's how I feel about being away from them on their big day:
So, Happy 20th Anniversary to two amazing people. I'm beyond blessed to be your daughter, and I love you to the moon and back!
Mom and Dad flew all the way across the country (and my mom hates to fly as much as I do) to visit me and see Deek and me get married last year.
Two of my three best guys! The other is my grandpa, PaPa, in case you're wondering. ;)
It's always a hoot with our family!