Growing up, we moved constantly... mom and I, on our own while my dad was on the road. I was always a part of looking at houses, packing boxes, carrying furniture, and we were laughing - always laughing.
Photo albums are spattered with potential houses between full tables of family, lasagna, and the mandatory this-is-the-entire-interior-of-the-house-we-decided-on.
My dad never knew our address and over time my mother and I came to depend on each other as the only friendly face in a new place.
As I grew up and our family divided, then reformed in new and more complex ways, the relationship naturally changed, too.
And now, here we are. Closer than ever. Next door neighbors. Dear friends. Confidants.
My oldest recently told me that parents are meant to be mentors - guides in life - and I found it to be so insightful and touching. As a mother, it's not my job to determine what is best for my children. It is my job simply to nurture them so that they can make those determinations themselves.
I'm eternally thankful for the long line of strong, brave mothers who made me into the one I am today.