Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate our moms and let them know how special they are to us. It’s a time for those of us who still have our mothers to cherish them, and it’s a time for those who no longer have their mothers to look back and think about happy memories.

Thankfully, my parents were married young and had my sister and I young. I say “thankfully” because I hope this means I get to keep my parents for a long, long time. My mom is 19 years older than me and my dad is 21 years older. When they are old and gray, I will be too.

Despite being married and having children so young, my parents managed to raise two kids who, if I might say so myself, turned out pretty alright. When my mom was in her late 20s, with two young children, she decided to go to school to become a nurse. While Sabrina and I were very little, my mom still managed to work, go to school, and make sure we didn’t leave the house looking ragged. I remember Sabrina and I being there on her graduation day when she finally reached her goal.

Since then, she’s been one of the hardest working people I know. She works tirelessly to make sure the people in her care have everything they need. For over 15 years she worked in the pediatric unit at Lutheran Hospital where she took care of sick and dying children. Now, she cares for the elderly at Hearth and Home. She always puts others first. She’s never one to let anyone go without the care they deserve, and when someone calls in sick, she often takes their place – even if it’s for 18 hours in a row and she’s only running on four hours of sleep.

My mom is also one of the kindest people I know. She has always been a fierce protector of my sister and I, and is always there when one of us needs her – even when Sabrina, now 25 years old, still needs someone to go to the doctor with her.

There’s been several times in my life where I felt like I wasn’t going to get out of a hard situation, but my mom was always there to pull me up.

In the last three months, my mom has been through a tremendous amount of emotional pain after losing her mom in January and then her brother, who died unexpectedly on Sunday. Despite these hardships, she has still remained one of the strongest people there is.

Moms are often one of our first teachers. At an early age my mom taught me to care for others, to be humble, and to work hard. She taught me to never give up or back down.

This Mother’s Day I hope to spend some time with my mom and to make some memories that I can cherish long after she is gone. I hope you all will do the same.