The apple doesn't fall far from the tree....(Happy birthday, Momma!!)

My mom used to love getting my sister and I to call her "Beautiful Mommie Dearest".

I think that helps explain where my twisted sense of humor comes from.

When I was younger, I didn't see much of my mom in me. I was always shy, and super sensitive. Mom is outgoing, sparkly, a force of nature. I seem to remember being convinced I was adopted at one point, because I felt so different from my family (and also, because I had just read the Babysitter's Club book where Claudia thinks she's adopted...all of you girls of the 80s know what I'm talking about).

But as I grew up and broke out of my shell, I started to see more of her in me. We have the same stubborn streak. We have the same weird sense of humor. We are outgoing and tend to get sucked into whatever it is we are working on. We can both read for hours on end. We have the same smile and the same eyes, although mine have more green in them. And we both enjoy a good margarita and movie night, although it's been a while since we've had one of those.

I am blessed in that my momma is also one of my best friends. I think that happened once I moved out of the house. It's a lot easier to talk about problems and boys and work and the latest boneheaded thing I did when I don't need to worry about being grounded because of it! Also, when there are two people so similar (especially with that stubbornness...), it's better for everyone else if they aren't in close quarters all the time - because when we clash? EVERYONE knows it.

She knows when I'm lying. Whether it's lying about where I was or who I was with or if I am doing okay or if I am trying to choke back tears on the phone, she always can tell. And she will NOT hold back on telling me the business. She knows how to give tough love, and while at times when I was younger I hated it, now I know it's exactly what I needed then, and it's still what I need now. And while I am sure I screamed at her much more than she deserved how much I "hated" her, and how she was "RUINING MY LIFE!", she managed to make it through my teenage years without locking me in a closet, instead displaying infinitely more patience and love than I deserved at the time. Now I can look back on those times and realize that she just wanted what any good parent wants for their child - the best world has to offer. And if she had to push me to get it, that's exactly what she did. I resented it then, but I wouldn't be the independent, strong, and resilient woman I am today without that. And I will always be grateful for that.

The only reason I would ever consider moving to Tennessee is to be close to my parents (and sister!) again. It's hard not being around them. I miss my mom so much sometimes....There's no one who knows how to make me laugh like she does, or who can comfort me in quite the same way. When my best friend moved to California, after I left her house the last time, I went straight to my parents' and cried on my mom's shoulder. When I was nervous about a first date with someone I wasn't quite sure about, she talked me down over email. I always want to share everything with her, from how work is going to my birthday plans to the newest guy I have fallen hard for. She's always on my side, just happy that I am safe and healthy, even if I have done something fairly (or, let's face it, EXTREMELY) stupid.

I have a lot of 'second' mothers, and I have the best aunties in the world, but nothing compares to a mommy. And mine is the best. And while we haven't always seen eye to eye, we have always loved each other, and we will always bring out both the best and the worst in each other, and really? I couldn't ask for more.

I love you, Momma! Happy [redacted] annual 28th birthday!
(You think I'd give her actual age? I'd like to live to see my next birthday myself!)
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