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To my mother.

A woman who from her earliest days has been fiercely independent. A woman who has never once changed her being to better conform to the liking of others, a woman who has never backed down or taken the easy way out.

She’s a paradox.

She is the toughest woman I know. Raised on a ranch with 5 other wild children in the middle of the Arizona desert with nothing but open skies and hundreds of miles of rugged brush and landscape to explore. She grew up a horsewoman. With the ability to look at the animal and seem to know what they’re thinking. She tells stories of jumping on her horse bareback as a school girl, riding down to her local elementary school and slipping off, letting her horse run home where should would see it later again in the afternoon. Stories of chasing off rattle snakes and having old Hollywood movie stars as neighbors in the 60’s.

Yet, she’s soft. I still crawl into her white fluffy bed to this day to drink my cup of coffee and have her tell me about the latest book she’s reading. I see how she treats animals. From the tiniest of puppies to the largest and unruliest of horses, she is soft and understands the innate wild nature in all of us. She builds treehouses for her granddaughter, calls me gorgeous every morning, has a deep deep love for those closest to her. She is a mix of the most beautiful characteristics– to be tender yet strong.

She’s taught me about love. Sometimes, tough love. She demands us to love ourselves so much, that we expect nothing but the best. She walks with this inherent sense of self confidence, proud and unwilling to shrink regardless of who is in the room. She takes the space she deserves, demanding to have her thoughts heard and her time valued. She’s instilled that in my family. She inspires me to live fearlessly. To tell those around me that I love them. To fight for my relationships. She called my dad from a phone booth in London in the 80’s and said, “I have a layover in Dallas, Texas next week. You can either be waiting for me outside of customs, or well, I’m going to continue on my life.” You may of guessed it, Dad was waiting outside that plexiglass window for her and they’re still married 37 years later.

As she celebrated 60 trips around the sun, she continues to inspire those around her. Her drive, her laugh, her intellectual nature. I am constantly in awe of how such a tiny woman can be so strong. I’ll look out the window and she’ll be shoulders deep in a palo verde tree, trimming branches with a chain saw, all while still being in her lace pajamas. Her cheers’ing a glass of champagne, then slipping off the read Julius Ceaser. She never fails to amaze me.

So cheers, mama. To 60 years of magic. To creating a life that you love. To being loved by so many.

To My Mother

AJ

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