Thank you for always supporting me, no matter how big the crisis or small the worry. For always sharing your wisdom, your thoughts, your guidance. For being one of the truly safe people—one of the few people I turn to when I am at my most vulnerable, who somehow always makes me feel better by the end of the conversation. Thank you for offering me a childhood filled with laughter, family, safety, and love.
Thank you for making more sacrifices than I will ever know. For advocating on my behalf before I knew what advocacy meant. For shielding me from the words “you can’t” for as long as you possibly could—and never speaking these words to me in my presence. For defending me, without my knowledge, when others said I couldn’t. It is because of you that, even though I knew I was different, I never felt that my disability limited my life choices.
Thank you for never, ever letting me use my disability as an excuse. For never letting me quit even when I wanted to. For making me pick up my own mess even when it made you look mean to onlookers. For insisting that I take responsibility for my own needs and face the consequences of my mistakes. Thank you for never over-protecting me, and for letting me take risks even when you were too scared to watch.
Thank you for raising a daughter with “special needs” who was always just a daughter. For your support in challenges I faced from the time I was born through childhood. For the unwavering support you still offer for challenges I’m facing today. For never allowing any of those challenges to define or limit me. Thank you instilling in me the belief that I may have to do things differently, but that I can do anything and everything.
I owe everything I am today to you. My perseverance and work ethic, the knowledge to learn from mistakes, my outlook and attitude, the ability to take risks, my sense of self, my achievements and successes. I would not be where I am today without you (and Dad). I could not have asked for a better mom in the entire world—who faced the challenges of raising a “special needs” child head-on, with resounding success.
Thank you for everything you have done and will do as my mother. Words cannot express how grateful I am.