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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

This year has been a whirlwind and with the New Year right around the corner, I always start thinking about what I’m grateful for and what an incredible year it has been (with all its ups and downs!)  At Christmas, I’m always psychologically pulled back to the traumatic Christmas of 2013, when I was diagnosed with a chronic condition that I would have for life. But on the flip side, that Christmas started our journey into becoming a mother-daughter best friend duo, and I don’t think I would swap my broken pancreas out for the bond we now share. I’m grateful for my family, but most of all I’m grateful to have been blessed with you and the relationship that we have together.

You are my best friend in the whole world. I tell you things I wouldn’t tell anyone else in this world, I share laughs with you, and I cry with you (or at you quite a lot of the time!)

I know that you always wanted to be the strong bad-ass woman who worked in a high-power executive job and have the ‘success’ that our society deems the most valuable. But I want you to know that you are that strong bad-ass woman in my eyes, with or without a high-power career. You have supported and prioritised your family above all else, from day one. You have studied for a university degree, worked a job and supported your young children all at the same time (I can hardly manage my degree on its own!) You have worked through emotional turbulence and flourished into the most incredible women I’ll ever know. You have sacrificed so much for others in your life, putting their needs before your own. You’ve followed your dreams against all odds and always think of others no matter what you’re doing or where you are. You have a huge heart, an incredible, passionate spirit and you have a strength, courage and determination that I dream to one day possess. I cannot tell you how proud I am of all you have achieved and overcome in this life, nor can I express how grateful I am that you are the person I have in my life to be my guide.

I don’t think the words thank you are enough to cut it, but I’ll give it my best shot. Thank you for supporting me in all I do, listening to and respecting my beliefs, encouraging me to follow my dreams and believing with your whole heart that I can achieve them, being a light at the end of the tunnel through some of the most difficult periods of my life and always being at the end of the phone, day or night, to listen to me complain, cry or laugh with you. Being around you feels like coming home, from the sound of your car keys jangling to the smell of your scarves. You make me laugh when I need to laugh the most, whether I’m walking into university or sitting in the passenger seat of your car.

If one day I become a mother, I want to be just like you. I aspire to be as good a mum as you have been. I want to support my children, raise them to be passionate and kind, give them a voice in all things and instil the importance of believing in yourself. I cannot think of a greater role model in this pursuit than you.

We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I want you to know that you have guided me into adult life and helped me overcome some of the biggest struggles I have faced so far, you have helped me grow into the woman that I am today. A woman that I am proud to be.

I love you with all my heart (to pluto and back!) and I honestly don’t know what I would do without you.