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Happy Valentine’s Day to all women out there. And extra special love and prayers to the moms. Although I believe Valentine’s Day is a superfluous holiday, I think any chance for mothers to receive a little appreciation and recognition is beautiful.

My mom is the world’s kindest person. This is a fact that is disputed by no individual that has ever met her. She cares for and selflessly puts her daughters, grandchildren, brothers, co-workers and the students of her fourth grade class all ahead of herself. Her consideration of others is legendary, and one of my life’s goals is to be half as giving and loving as Sharon Lee House Slovak.

She is also whippet smart, has taught hundreds of children to read, can finish any crossword puzzle, is an American history buff and is subtly, yet uproariously, funny. She tolerated with humor 18 years of my insistence that I knew better than her on all topics, and seven straight years of my hogging all the hot water for showers in the morning. And although it may have appeared I wasn’t listening, her advice and guidance has reigned supreme in how I have lived my life.

As a tribute to my mom, I would like to present her best quotes, in no particular order:

While shopping when I seemingly overnight gained 15 lbs. and 3 dress sizes due to puberty & a passion for guacamole: “It doesn’t look bad on you, it’s just one of those outfits that looks better on the hanger.”

Her reaction to my and my sister’s choices and ideas when planning our weddings: “Whatever you like, I like.  That sounds wonderful.”

Her suggestion for a field trip whenever she’s in town: “How about Mount Vernon?”

Upon sending a massive package of new clothes, books and toys for her grandchildren in honor of a major holiday like Arbor Day:
“You are doing me the favor, I love shopping for the kids and it helps me feel connected.  Thank you!”

When sending my husband and I out for a long-overdue date night whenever she is in town:
“Don’t argue.  You’re going out and it is on me!”

Her bizarre good-bye to my sister and me as children whenever we were outside of her care:
“Don’t touch any strange animals!” (In her defense, there was a large rabies scare in our area of Southern California in the 80s, but we still found it hilarious.)

The three words embedded at least 4 times in every conversation I have had with my mom:
“I love you.”

Thank you Mom. Thank you for choosing the rewarding but modestly-paying career of teaching so that you could spend your evenings, summers and vacations with us. Thanks for raising us on a teacher’s salary while funneling every single dollar to giving us everything our hearts desired while doing without for yourself. Thank you for waiting to obtain your own Master’s in Education until after paying for my sister and myself to obtain our Bachelors degrees. Thank you for taking care of Grandpa with dignity and love the last years of his life. Thank you for every sacrifice you have made for your family.

Thanks for your amazing devotion to your grandchildren. Thanks for the hundreds of stories you read them, zillions of games you play and for your complete and utter enthusiasms for pirates, Star Wars, ninjas, ducks, American Girl dolls, princesses, mermaids, Thomas and every one of his trainy friends. Those three little people adore you. Thanks for loving my husband and brother-in-law like the sons you never had. Thanks for flying out to visit my family several times a year and being the best “Gram” and Mom ever. We all love you.

I love you. Happy Valentine’s Day Mom!

And don’t touch any strange animals!

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On the 14th of every month, I’ll be revealing the truth about motherhood with 12 other writers. Follow the hashtag #NakedMoms, and check out the links below from the other moms and find out which stories resonate with you the most!

Loving the Mom in Me by Stephanie at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion

Loving While Waiting by Heather at Diary of A First Time Mom

Present in Love by Laila at Only Laila

I Loved You Before You Were Born by Joyce at Mommy Talk Show

My Mom Was Right About Motherhood by Thien-Kim at I’m Not The Nanny

Being a Loving Mom Begins With Loving Yourself by Steph at Confessions of A Stay At Home Mom

I Love Being a Working Mom by Vanesse at Mommy Works A Lot

How to Balance Your Checkbook of Love by Diamonte at Liberated Mommy

Naked Love. Learning to Be Vulnerable by Summer at The Dirty Floor Diaries

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