On March 21 many years ago, my beautiful mother was brought into this world. She grew up to become a very strong woman who married my charismatic, yet rebellious father. They had FIVE boys in merely 6.5 years, and raised my brothers and I in the country.

For nearly 20 years, my mother worked as the Audio/Visual instructor in our school district, where she became the second mother to many of my friends. When school let out, she’d race home and prepare dinner before football practice. I recall the day my bus passed my mother, who was pulled over for speeding (sorry mom). Although that may sound reckless, it’s an example of how my mother always put her boys first.

On March 21, 1992, my father, who was an only child, lost his father/best friend to cancer. He didn’t take it well, and was never really the same again. His alcoholism often disrupted his workflow and our family’s finances. To compensate, my mother saved every penny she earned. If she hadn’t, some holidays would’ve been VERY different, and school shopping nonexistent.

In the Fall of 2001, after 23 years of marriage, my mother became a widow after my father unexpectedly passed away in his sleep at home. Although my family was completely devastated, my mother’s love and strength helped us persevere.

As if that wasn’t enough, my mom has also battled with various health issues over the years including severe allergies, a broken neck (at work), and Crohn’s disease. Somehow, my mother has overcome a majority of her health concerns, and is now the proud grandmother of four grandsons (so far).

I couldn’t ask for a better woman to be my mother, and even after I get married some day, my mother will always have my heart and be the number one female in my life. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! I LOVE YOU!