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 almost 26 years of my life, but especially since I was in college and every day after! 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. She also uplifted and supported me when I’ve had depressive episodes throughout the last several months. 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 (even though she has the worst schedule ever and she deserves more time for herself). While many people haven’t honored teachers for all of their impossibly difficult and unusual work over the last almost three 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. 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.