My mom is my hero. I feel incredibly lucky to type this. I know not everyone has a good or even safe relationship with their parents, and I'm among the fortunate few in that I count my mom not only as my parent but as a friend. I have always looked up to her, but the older I grow, the more I appreciate the unique ways she has been there for me.
I grew up the third of four children. My parents didn't get divorced until I was in high school, but even before then, my mom was solely responsible for the emotional and mental well-being of the four of us. My mom drove us to our football practices, our piano practices, and our theatre auditions (we were definitely a bunch of joiners). My mom was the one who took us shopping for school supplies and clothes. My mom was the one who made meals for us and cleaned the house and helped us with homework and disciplined us. My mom was the one who read to us every night before we went to bed. That's right, every single night she read to us and tucked us in.
During this time — while she was raising four children and working as a librarian — my mom also managed to earn her master's degree.
After my parents' divorce, it was my mom who single-handedly supported all four of us through college. We were lucky enough to get financial aid and scholarships, but it was my mom who helped us move in and out of dorms and who talked us through our big life decisions. When I was diagnosed with depression in my sophomore year of college, my mom was the one I turned to for support.
One day doesn't seem like enough when my mom is loving and growing and thinking every single day of the year.
It hasn't always been easy. When we were younger, my mom was a devout Christian. We had conversations growing up where my mom discussed how homosexuality was a sin, and while she didn't hate gay people, she didn't think they were going to heaven. When I came out as bisexual in college and then as nonbinary after college, I was nervous to broach the subject with my mom. I was worried that she would see me differently or that she wouldn't accept me for who I was.
Yet again, my mom proved to me just how amazing she is really is. Not only did she fully embrace me but she set about educating herself in the subject and then becoming an advocate for LGBTQ+ people on the campus where she teaches. My mom has shown me again and again that people can learn and grow throughout their lives and that there is never an end to how much we can change for the better.
My mom is my role model because everything she does, she does with incredible love. Whether that's learning how to be a mental-health first responder or going above and beyond to support her children no matter where we live. I am always proud to celebrate my mom on Mother's Day, but one day doesn't seem like enough when my mom is loving and growing and thinking every single day of the year.