To my Mother: I love that you and Dad waited 10 years to start a family. When I was younger, I asked for an older brother, but now that I am 25 (almost 26), I understand your reasons for waiting. I love telling people how long you all waited and why because I believe your waiting to start a family until you were ready is one of the biggest reminders to me that it is okay to wait until the time is right for me. Both to start a family and to do other things. You have always been one of my biggest supporters, and I do not know what I would do without your advice, your ability to make me laugh, your hugs, or the way you can calm me down from hundreds of miles away when I am a crying mess.
I have so many wonderful memories with you. Swimming in the lake in Michigan. Making applesauce from scratch. Walking to get ice cream. Learning how to drive while you held tightly to the door handle. Towering over you in heels just because I could. There have been other memories that weren't wonderful. But I honestly don't remember why I was sad or hurt or upset. I just remember you always being there for me and always reminding me of how much you loved me.
A lot of people say they have the best mother. And it could be true. But I know without a shadow of a doubt that you are the best mother I could have. There's no one else who could have loved me or raised me the way you did.
To my Nana: When I talk about you, I call you my kindred spirit. Because you are. You are one of the biggest encouragers in my life. You lift me up and always, always believe in me. I love sharing stories about you and bragging about the amazing woman you are.
After my freshman year of college, we went to Europe for three weeks. At the time, you were not flying, but my dad told me that you would get onto to an airplane for me. And you did. Not only did you get onto the airplane, you spent every moment with me for the next three weeks. You were determined to not miss a moment of any of it, and I couldn't have imagined sharing that time with anyone else. I wouldn't have wanted to share it with anyone else.
One of my favorite things as a child was going to your house. We would eat Popeye's Fried Chicken and watch movies in your den. We would shop for clothes and sometimes for prom dresses even though I had no reason to buy a prom dress. And at night, you would tuck me in with a story. My love of reading and of writing comes from you; thank you for reminding me that I am a writer and for reminding me that I have always been a writer.
To my Grandmother: You bought me my first bikini, and I think I had my first taste of ice cream with you. We used to walk from your cottage to the creek and wear hulu skirts, and you would play along with my imagination of us being in Hawaii rather than being in Suttons Bay, MI. There were always games to play and books to read at your house, and every morning you would greet me with a hug and a smile.
I can always count on you to send me cards and notes when you are thinking of me. I love the conversations we have on the phone and knowing that you are praying for me and for Justin. It is such a blessing to be able to share my life with you - the ups and the downs.
When I think of home, the place I feel the most at rest, I think of the cottage on the beach and shucking corn on the porch. Thank you for giving me some of the best memories and one of the most picturesque places to call home.
(title from "mama's song" by carrie underwood)