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Mom appreciated for all she's done, all she is

This weekend we celebrate my mother's birthday, and for years now a large group of us have gone to Friendly Farm restaurant in Upperco to honor her. I look forward to this tradition every year.

It's not only a time to get together with family, but also a time to reflect on how blessed I am to have her as a mother.

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From the beginning, my mom has been my number one fan. When my kids complain about me being the loudest person at any of their events, I remember when it was my mom's voice I heard from the sidelines. She has always thought I was the smartest, prettiest, brightest and best at whatever I was doing.

I remember many a night sitting in her lap while she rocked me, either listening to whatever was wrong or soothing me when I didn't feel well. Even as I got older, I would still find there were times when sitting in my mom's lap on that chair was the only place that would help with whatever problem I had — even if my feet then touched the ground when I sat.

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My mom was a healthy eater and cook before all of that was cool. I will admit to feeling deprived as a child because I never got sugary cereal, had to eat whole wheat bread and drink water. My mom even went so far as to sprinkle bran on our food because she had read about it being good for you. Man, I hated that bran.

One of my favorite childhood moments occurred when my mom got fed up with my sister and me constantly complaining about what we had to eat and always begging for candy. She decided that if we wanted sweets, then that's what we would get and that's all we would get at every single meal.

I think I lasted one "candy" meal while my sister might have made it for two. I still don't have much of a sweet tooth.

My mom showed me that you can do anything that you set your mind to doing with a little bit of effort. She built a brick sidewalk in our yard after researching how to do it in the library. After years of being a stay-at-home mom, she applied for a much-sought-after job and got it because she spent hours reading books and talking with people about how to write the perfect resume. She and my dad put my sister and me through private school when they didn't really have the money because that was a priority. She kept the books for my dad's business and volunteered in church. I still don't think there is anything she can't do.

As I have gotten older, she has become more than just a mom, she is also one of my best friends. I love spending time with her. We have so much fun together, whether it is shopping, going out to eat or just taking a walk. No matter what we do, we always seem to have a good time.

She taught me that God may not always give you everything you want, but will always provide everything you need and that is something that I have seen proved true time and time again. She also raised me to love God with all my heart and soul and mind and that is a gift I can never repay.

We aren't perfect, and we have our moments that we don't get along but there has never been a doubt in my mind that my mom has my back no matter what. I am blessed beyond measure to have this woman as my mother and I can only hope and pray that I live up to her example for my own kids. Happy birthday Mom!

Jill Murphy writes from Manchester.

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