Today is one of my favorite days because it’s the most incredible woman’s birthday (I last spoke about mom here)! I write a birthday ode to my mom every year because she’s my favorite person in the world and I’m 100% certain I would never fully operate or exist without her. I’ve truly put her through the ringer over the past 24 years of my life, but especially over the past few years. My mom suffered through my worst depressive season ever in 2019 and she constantly encouraged me and sent me job opportunities when all I wanted to do was sleep, hide in my room, and cry. And during this pandemic, she made the transition from her current job as a reading resource teacher (which she loves and deserves!) back to first grade in order to assist the regular first grade teachers in limiting their class sizes and then back to reading resource with the kids who need extra help. She’s constantly creating and editing her class Google Docs (which she usually asks me for help with and I am often the most impatient person), working on curriculum, doing extra work for her students, and helping her coworkers whenever they need time and attention. While many people haven’t honored teachers for all of their impossibly difficult and unusual work over the last almost two years, I only find my mom even more inspiring and nurturing. She is unfailing in her love for her family and friends, passionate about her work, and truly the most thoughtful and generous person I know. Today, I celebrated my mom by treating her to a manicure at our regular nail spot and with an impromptu lunch from one of our favorite Chinese restaurants (and I even invited Megan and made her pay for her own food)! Tonight we bought dinner from her most loved ramen place and we ate chocolate cream pie for dessert. I am always thankful for my mom, but COVID has made me treasure her even more. Hauʻoli lā hānau iā ʻoe mom! You are so loved.