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An Ode To My Mother: Thank You For Making Me The Woman I Am Today

To you, mom, I will be forever grateful. 

For showing me how to be kind when others are not.

For ordering pizza without cheese, because you know it hurts my stomach.

For telling me all of your stories and inspiring me to travel the world like you.

For constantly reminding me that I am beautiful, especially on the days when I feel least like it.

For letting me paint my room bright purple, even though the painters warned you not to.

For dropping everything and getting on a plane to visit me during my freshman year.

And most notably, for fostering a nonjudgmental mother-daughter relationship, allowing me to confide in you just as I would in any other best friend.

For all of this and more, thank you — I know that not all young women are lucky enough to have someone to whom they can say the same.

Growing up, you taught me that tenderness and a commanding presence can go hand-in-hand, proving that I don’t need to give one up for the other. I would listen intently from outside your office door as you led work calls, in awe of your confidence to lead and inspiring me to do the same.

When I’d come to you crying, sobbing, hyperventilating and unable to form coherent sentences, you’d hold me tight and allow me to melt into your arms. You never let me believe that my emotions were too much to handle or any kind of burden, and it wasn’t until I grew much older that I realized how many other people also depended on you. You never once let me feel unimportant, no matter how much weight you were already carrying. The poise you maintained while bearing everyone’s emotional strife is a skill that went unrecognized by me for so long, and for that, I am deeply sorry.

In a world where we are taught as women to shrink ourselves, you never allowed me to feel like I took up too much space. Every day, you’d remind me that I deserve every inch I occupy. You instilled in me that I am passionate instead of crazy, vibrant instead of too loud and assertive instead of bossy. Most meaningfully, you made me feel easy to love.

With the stable foundation you created, showing me how I should expect to be treated by those around me, you taught me my worth and the kind of love I deserve. Watching you and Dad work through disagreement set a standard of communication that I have thus upheld in all my relationships, romantic or otherwise. 

Without the close bond you and I share, I would not be the same young woman I am proud to be today. You gave me ambition, tenacity and your unconditional support. You are my shoulder to cry on, my partner in crime and the person I look up to most in this world. One day, I hope for nothing more than to be the same for my daughter.

Thank you, mom.

Ciara is a second year UCLA student from Oakland, CA who is majoring in Human Biology and Society. She loves to travel and explore new places; especially when there's any kind of ocean involved. When she's not busy workshopping her next Her Campus article, you can find Ciara sipping her morning coffee somewhere sunny, relaxing in her hammock, or chasing a sunset.