Dear Mom,

I’m sure you know this… but today is my 36th birthday. When you were my age, you had three daughters, two divorces and were back to being a single mom. I can’t imagine how you handled it all. There are days I have a hard time getting out of bed and feeding myself… and I’m a full blown adult and it’s still just me. No marriage. No mortgage. No kids. Not because I don’t want these things… it’s because I learned so much from watching how fast things happened to you that I’ve chosen to not rush it all. See, Mom… life already moves so fast. It’s crazy to think that 18 years ago, I turned 18. And now here I am… an “adult” without any of the adult things I watched while I grew up.

And Mom… can you believe that I thought I knew what love was 30 years ago? I was 6 and obsessed with the New Kids on the Block. Mostly I was in love with Joey McIntyre. But I also knew that if I married Danny Wood, my name would become Holly Wood and because I thought I was set to be just like you, I thought I had go figure this out quick. (For you got married at 20 and that meant I only had 14 more years to decide between these boys on the block!) But in all seriousness…three decades later… here is what I know about love: it started with you and continues through me. Love began when you brought me into this world and held me in your arms and that love continues as I “adult” in this crazy world to find the same love for myself.

And you know what’s also crazy about this birthday? It’s that if I add another 18 years, I’ll be 54… and that’s the age of you — the last time I saw you.

So if there is one gift that I can give everyone else on my birthday… it’s this letter to you. To let them know {{through us}} that growing older is a privilege denied to many and that if you want to know what true unconditional love looks like, just stand in a mirror. Really look at yourself. You’ll see a bit of your mother and her mother and her mother before and you’ll remember that a birthday is simply a reminder of the first day our mother looked into our eyes with pure love.

So take a look in the mirror. You’ll see her. Just Believe it.

Happy Day, Mom

Wholeheartedly, Holly