One of the biggest blessings of having grown up as a child of divorce is the fact that, compared to most, I’ve had (quite literally) double the family: double the people to laugh with, double the people to cry to, double the people to learn from, and double the people to hug through the good times and the bad. With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I feel especially grateful to have been inspired by so many amazing maternal figures in my almost-27 (eek!) years of life.

I have a mom who’s been my very best friend for as long as I can remember, a stepmom who totally accepted me as her own daughter when I was three years old, and grandmothers who have given and loved me with all that they have every single day. These women are the foundation of everything I am and everything that I believe, and I am endlessly, humbly grateful for their influence, generosity, and love. In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d love to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned from the mothers in my life over the years:

  • Don’t wait around for other people to define you or give you permission to be yourself.
  • It’s OK to be sassy sometimes.
  • Always do the right thing, even when it’s hard.
  • You never know who you’re going to run into. (I know this one means I shouldn’t leave the apartment looking like a mess, so I’m sorry that I don’t follow it all the time).
  • Your friends are a reflection of who you are.
  • Keep a healthy perspective. There are always people in the world with struggles more serious than your own.
  • Eating ice cream for dinner is allowed in the summertime, and cake for breakfast is required on your birthday.
  • Take good care of your skin.
  • It’s never too late to start over, or start again.
  • You are the only one responsible for your own happiness.
  • There’s no shame in doing things that other people don’t understand.
  • Doing well is important, but doing good is even more important.
  • True kindness is about doing something nice for someone else and not telling them about it.
  • Staying in bed too late is a waste of the day.
  • There is always more you can be doing with your time. Use it, because you’re capable of more than you realize.
  • When it doubt, go to the beach. Or find a puppy to hug.
  • Don’t let anyone or anything break your spirit.
  • Make your home a place where people know they can find good food and a good listener.
  • Never be a quitter.
  • Being kind to everyone isn’t the same as allowing others to be unkind to you.
  • Celebrate every last little thing.
  • Family comes first, always.

I could probably spend three more hours adding to this list, but I’m starting to tear up so I’m going to stop : ) How lucky am I? These women in my life are wise and loving rock stars, and I hope I can grow to fill even a fraction of their shoes.

One of my favorite parts about my wedding was having a chance to take photos with some of the most special people in my life. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day, of me with my mom, stepmom, and grandmothers. It broke my heart that one of my grandmothers wasn’t there with us, but I was wearing her bracelet in her memory! I know she was there in spirit.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all of you amazing mamas out there. You make us who we are! I hope your weekend is full of homemade cookies, family hugs, and sunny weather. xo