I love my mom.

I’m not ashamed of it, and I tell her pretty regularly. In fact, we try speaking on the phone at least once a day just for a quick check-in and “hello.” Sometimes we talk about the weather, other times we talk about whatever I have going on at work. Regardless, I have learned to take that time because the moments we have with our mothers are precious.

This Sunday (May 13) is Mother’s Day and I can’t help but reflect on all the reasons why I love my mom. Sure, she’s “always been there” and she’s “my rock,” but this list goes beyond that. Here are 10 reasons why I love my mother.

  1. She’s always up for an adventure. Even though she’s now in her early seventies and she’s slowed down quite a bit, this woman was all about taking trips and finding treasure along the way (sometimes that treasure was something simple such as a tumbleweed we kept in our RV shower). Just a few weeks ago she was in Canton, Texas at the First Monday Trade Days. She might not be traveling as far, but she’s always up for a trip.
  2. She’s always had her own fashion sense, even though fashion was never important to her. She would always tell me about when pants became acceptable to wear to church, and how that “changed everything” for her. Most days you can find my mom in jeans and t-shirt. She’s no glamazon, but she’s my mom. And she’s made it easier for me to be comfortable with what I wear. She’s never dressed feminine and she likes it that way. I adore her for breaking gender boundaries with her clothing.
  3. Even when things go wrong, she’s always going to laugh about it. One time when I was about 10 she burnt a pot roast in our oven. I remember us both in the kitchen waving the smoke out the window. Seconds later she’s grabbing the pan and running to the backdoor, chunking it in the yard. We laughed a lot that day, and that fumble probably resulted in a Taco Bell trip.
  4. She’s fearless. When I was 14, my mother had an accident with a lawnmower resulting in severed foot. We were both mowing the lawn together, but even in the face of danger, she kept her cool and kept me from freaking out. My father took her to the ER, and even while we were driving, she was comforting me more than I was comforting her.
  5. She’s always had natural beauty. Like I mentioned earlier, my mom’s always strayed away from traditional feminine norms and that includes wearing a lot of makeup. She’s always been naturally beautiful, from the time she was a kid to now. When I was younger we’d flip through her yearbook and when we’d come to her senior picture, I’d always say “There you are! You’re smiling at me!”
  6. She’s selfless and a hard worker. When the time came for me to go to college, my father had already retired. I lost my financial aid early on due to a few poor life choices, but my mom decided to rejoin the workforce and help me get through school. She never asked me to pay her back, only to get a great education and to live whatever dream I wanted to live. Suffice it to say, I think I made it, mom.
  7. She’s always loved my writing. In my old bedroom at my parents’ house she has a copy of every article I’ve ever written spanning back to when I was in high school. Some of them she has multiple copies. Some of them I don’t even have a copy. Now that I work for SB Magazine, she’s become a subscriber and is always eager to see my byline. It brings her joy seeing my name in print and I know she’s proud of me for it every time.
  8. Her stories about growing up are the most fascinating. My mom grew up poor and she knew it. Her family bounced around from house to house growing up and would move for her father’s work. Her family settled in Natchitoches (even though she was born in Orange, Texas). The stories she shares about life in the 1950s and 1960s always piqued my interest. She’s gone through 70 plus years of life in the American South and has seen everything from segregation to gay marriage. One story she always shared was about borrowing a fur coat from her sister and then being egged on her way home while walking with her cousin. She said it took months to get the smell out of that coat, but her sister wasn’t too mad about it.
  9. Her handwriting is beautiful. And to be honest, there’s nothing incredibly special about it, but it’s hers. It’s changed a bit in these last few years (she has Parkinson’s and you can tell the difference), but I can always tell it’s hers.
  10. She picked me.If you’re reading this and don’t know much about me, I’m adopted. I was fortunate to write an amazing cover story about finding my birth mother in the March 2015 edition of SB Magazine. It took my mother and father over three years to adopt me. She would always tell me that she waited her entire life to find me, and I know that to be true. My mother always wanted a child of her own and tried many years before she adopted me at the age of 40. She waited that long to get the right kid, and she always reminds me how lucky we both were.

Next time you see your mom, whether before, on, or after Mother’s Day, give her a hug. Kiss her on the cheek. Remind her she’s beautiful. She was there for you, now it’s time for you to be there for her.