Submitted by Emma Leodis

As I grew up, I always had my mom by my side. It was her and I set off for any adventure. We had a lust for life, and we were constantly laughing. I never really second guessed my life. I never looked at the other kids and wondered why I didn't have a dad, or why I lived in an apartment. Most of what I remember was our little Christmas tree in the living room, going to the park constantly, and her tickling me until I couldn't breathe.
When I hit my teenage years, I didn't want to hang out with her as much. I was focused on boys, school, and swim team. My mom was there, but I remember trying to do my own thing and I thought our close relationship was done. I didn't want her telling me what to do, or knowing who I was dating, so I shut her out.
At about 14, I developed an eating disorder. I wasn't sad, I was just lost. Soon, I found the reason I was upset, I needed my mother. And she was there regardless of my mean words, my silence, my anger. She came home from work one day with a movie, pajamas, and bubble bath. She told me she's always here for me, and to relax for a moment and think. I did. And I realized when the world is sometimes cruel, she will always be there for me.
After that day, everything changed. I looked at how she raised me by herself as a teenage mom. I looked at the sacrifices and lack of sleep she endured for me. She got herself through college without aid, and is now successful with her own house and life. I honestly could not be more grateful for such an amazing mom, and our awesome relationship. Now, as a 17 year old ready to leave for college, it's my turn to take care of her. I figured the least I could do was to get her to go on some dates she never went on because of me. I support her in every way, she does the same, and it's something that I believe everyone should experience.

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Mary from NYC FEBRUARY 7, 2013
As a mom of a 10 year old I really needed to read this today. I am terrified of her teenage years and your story helped. You're mom did a great job.

judy G. from plover JULY 10, 2012
What a great story!