When I think about my childhood, there are no memories of hours wasted in front of the television. Instead, I remember all of the art projects that you introduced me to, the millions of books that we read together, and the impact that your faith in my imagination still has on me today.
You gave me the freedom to run in my bare feet after butterflies, you checked my pockets for frogs before letting me inside our home, and you sat on my bed every single night and told me how much you loved me as I closed my eyes.
I remember being shaken at night from terrible dreams that felt so real that when I cried out for you, the fear had stolen my voice and so I jumped from my bed and sprinted down the hall. I cuddled in between you and Dad. Safety. You never told me to go back to bed; you always held me there until morning.
You weren't always fun. And I wasn't always easy. I remember plenty of times that my mouth was washed out with soap with the mutter of unkind words, butt cheeks were smacked for stealing cookies, and hours were spent in my room after wandering too far and not returning home even when I heard your voice calling my name.
But still, you have always been my safety net. I remember one night when I was little, and you were giving me a bath and left the room to answer the phone. You weren't gone for no longer than a minute, but that entire minute was absolutely terrifying. I sat and waited for you. When you returned, my anxiety subsided and nothing felt better than you wrapping me up in a warm cotton bath towel.
In high school, we had the typical mother-daughter relationship. Some days I really thought that I hated you. Looking back, that's how I know you were doing everything right. You taught me to balance out work and play, reminded me that boyfriends should not monopolize my time, and didn't get me a cell phone just because everyone else had one. I hope that one day I have a teenage daughter and I do things just like you did. You let me figure things out on my own, but always offered wisdom when I came asking for it.
You have always put your own feelings aside when I needed you the most. I remember calling you freshman year of college and telling you that I had broken up with my high school sweetheart. Through tears you managed to pick me back up and remind me that somewhere out there, some one was being readied for me. You reminded me that relationships take hard work, but that I should never settle. You even supported me when we got back together, got married, and believe me when I tell you that you were my backbone when we divorced. You still tell me that some one is out there for me, and that no matter what I should never give up on love.
I remember calling you in college one night and telling you the biggest and hardest secret that I have ever shared. Even when the campus police told me that it might be better to hide it from you, I still called you and told you that I had been raped and really all I needed was my mama. You were in the car five minutes later and drove over two hours to hug me and kiss my tears and tuck me in. Your ability to comfort me, no matter what the situation, still blows me away.
It seems that everything in my life is continually changing. With every break up, hard day, or illness you are the first one that I call. When I have good news, I can't wait to talk to you because I know that you will feel my joy and nothing makes me happier than making you smile. You really are my best friend, and I wouldn't be as strong of a woman without having an even stronger woman as my role model for life.
And I wish that I could find the words to tell you how exceptional you really are. You were born to be a mother, and I know this because you not only continue to mother my brother and me, but you mother entire communities. People call you when they need comfort, safety, some one to cry to, and some one to laugh with. I am so lucky that you are mine, and this world is so much better with you in it.
The pride that I feel for you is overwhelming, and I am thankful that you have given me such big shoes to fill. I am thankful that you set such an example. That even if I only accomplish half of what you have accomlished, I will be extremely blessed.
This time next week you will officially be Rev. Dr. S. Karen Workman -- and I just wanted you to know that out of all the mothers in the world, I'm glad the Universe found me fit enough to be your daughter.
With more pride and happiness that I thought my heart could possibly contain,