Dear Mom,

I can’t remember exactly when it happened, but a number of years ago I stopped looking at you as my mother and considered you my friend. My best friend, in fact. The first person I call to share something wonderful, and the first person I call when something awful happens. When the doctor called with bad test results in the spring of 2011, you knew just what to say. When I was racing 4 months pregnant and a fellow runner informed me that I was suffocating my baby, I was crying hysterically by the time I crossed the finish line. You talked me off the ledge and reminded me that babies don’t breathe – and actually got me laughing.

You’re wicked smart. One of only four women in your medical school class, and I LOVED being able to say “which one?” when people called and asked for Dr. Robertson. I was so proud that my mom worked, and that she was a doctor at that! Rather than talking about makeup and clothes and mani-pedis, you taught me to catch frogs and toads and snakes, and that it’s cool to be good at math and science. You’re honest and direct, and I try to be the same way. You’re loyal and fair. You’re passionate, immersing yourself fully in everything you do – whether you’re training and competing with your dogs, winning recipe contests and cultivating an award-winning dahlia garden, brainstorming with us about how to handle the latest kid or pet challenge, or attempting to breed the elusive crested tri-color guinea pig.

10497242_10152594607865407_7666062101286037819_oYou built me up when others tore me down. When the boy teased me mercilessly on the bus every day in 7th grade, you offered to give his mother – one of your patients – a piece of your mind. (I said no, but I still appreciated the gesture.) You rushed to my defense when my piano teacher picked on me, and told me that sometimes, when you get really angry, you cry. When I wailed in high school that no boys would ever notice me, you told me, over and over, that my time would come. I’m so grateful that you put up with me when I was an ungrateful, eye-rolling teenager who complained about having you at swim meets and claimed that you were ruining my life because I couldn’t go to my friends’ houses if their parents weren’t home. I look back now and realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have parents who set boundaries to keep them safe…and support everything they do.

You’re helping me raise Cassie and Kenna, and bring the same no-nonsense approach to grandparenting that you brought to parenting. You give me advice. I don’t always want to hear it, but you’re practical. And you’re almost always right. It used to be annoying. Now I think it’s awesome. My girls have a special bond with you, and we’re all better for it.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t look at you as my role model, feel grateful for the close family we have, and want to call to tell you the latest crazy thing that the girls did. Looking back, if I can be the kind of mom to my girls that you’ve been to me, Cassie and Kenna will be loving,strong, successful women – and I’ll have a lot to be proud of.

I love you, mom.