I Got It From My Mama.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting on the edge of the bathtub watching you get ready for a night out-- my hair still damp from my bath minutes prior, leaving a wet spot on the back of my flannel pajamas that I so carefully picked out in hopes of impressing the babysitter. In between my interrogation of exactly what time you and Dad would be home, I would watch you. The way you flipped your head around as you blow dried your flawless, (natural) bleach-blonde hair and approximately how many squirts of hair spray you would use before taking one final look in the mirror.

'One day, I will be just like her,' I would think to myself.

What do you give a woman who has given you everything day in and day out for the past 27 years? How do I express the pride I feel when someone describes us as “twins,” or how similar we are in our overly-dramatic expressions?

How do you even begin to thank her?

You can give candles, picture frames or another gold necklace. You can write a letter, take her out to dinner or send flowers. But what I have come to find over the years is that there will never be enough gifts or words in the world to express the gratitude, attachment and love I have for my Mom.

I will never be able to repay her… but what I can do is live every day with the intention and heart she has so wonderfully exemplified--not only to me, but to every person she comes across each and every day of her life.

To smile at strangers. To not cut corners, but to prove your worth and loyalty by working hard and giving it your all. To show up, even when it’s inconvenient. To spread kindness, no matter how you feel on the inside… and if it all goes wrong, there’s always a Starbucks around the corner with iced tea and a birthday cake, cake pop. That should do the trick.

Every ounce of who I am today, I owe to my Mom. She has seen me through it all and has taught me more about life than I think I even realize.

From a tall little girl who was scared of her own shadow, to now a 20-something woman that owes every ounce of confidence to her mother, here are some of the things she has taught me over the years:

+ “Big girls are the best girls… & happy girls are the prettiest.”

As a 4th grader who was taller than her teacher at the time, I think my parents were a little worried I would end up being the Shaquille O'Neal of Wilmette, IL. It took me a while to find strength and beauty in my long legs, but I vividly remember my Mom leaning down, stretching her arms out wide and reminding me of the above.

+Always be kinder than you feel--no matter what mood you are in.


To put it simply, my Mom hasn’t had it easy. One would never know, but it is rare you will ever find a woman who has endured what she has, yet refuses to be defined and weighed down by it. The queen of taking a shitty situation and moving onward and upward.

+Nothing frustrates a rude/mean person more than being overly nice to them :)

+Wear the heels- it’s better to be super tall than ruin an outfit.

+Dedication to those you love.

Being the first person in the crowd at any and all of my basketball games (near and far) growing up. Dedicating hours upon hours, day in and day out to protect and serve my Grandma as she grew older—ultimately forming an unbreakable bond. Being the backbone and constant support system to my Dad and little brother as they endured open heart surgery--never leaving their side for one moment. Driving me to and from my apartment in the city because it’s dark out or god forbid my bag is a little heavy. Answering every single one of my phone calls, even if that means going into a closet at a party so she can hear.

+You’ll never know if you don’t try.

+Need to nap or de-stress? Ina Garten is your girl.

+Celebrate life every chance you can get.

For any birthday or holiday, one can expect days upon days of celebration. Home cooked meals around a beautifully decorated table, cocktails at a new bar downtown, comedy shows, reservations at the nicest restaurant in the city… because if we’re going out, might as well do it right.

My parents know what’s UP.

+Cooking is much more fun if you dance while doing it.

+Walk strong, confident and proud.

Not only will you stand out, but there is a slim chance that anyone will mess with you.

(I blame my Mom for my inability to walk slow).

+Never lie, you will always get caught.

+There’s always enough room for more.

My Mom, Queen of Hospitality, is known for rearranging our entire house in order to squeeze as many loved ones around one table as possible.

More the merrier, always.

+Always carry a bit of Advil/Ibuprofen in your purse.

+Always dress well when traveling.

1) You never know who you might see and 2) They won’t give the random first class upgrade to the train wreck in 27C.

+You will always learn more from experience.

All experiences, good and bad, provide you with wisdom and strength you would not have found otherwise.

Growing up without a bedtime or curfew, realizing you were right when you told me to “bring a coat,” when it comes to cooking—practice makes perfect, having my back with every college transfer and letting me learn on my own how utterly terrible that boy is—yet supporting me nonetheless :)

The words "thank you" or "I love you" are not adequate enough to express how grateful I am to be your daughter. They don't even begin to describe how much you are appreciated and loved by everyone who knows you or how much you will always mean to me.

You are an angel, my best friend and my rock. You deserve every ounce of good in this world. We love you!