Peace. Today is my mother’s birthday. I have an undying need to do as any child would wish and make their parents proud. I will be finishing what seems like a never ending road to one of my educational goals, acquiring an Associates degree. This is huge for me. The youngest child of 8 and the first to earn some type of college degree. This is not to look down on the accomplishments of my siblings who have all succeeded in their own right. But more than for me, this is huge for my family and for my mother. But with this goal quickly coming to a finish I can’t help but continue to think, what more can I do? The relationship my mother and I share about my education is a well known but secretive one. She has always applauded me on my accomplishments but the praise never came in an overwhelming abundance. I think that her congratulatory method is and has always been enough to keep me pushing for bigger and better goals. If you praise a child too much they can become satisfied with everyday accomplishments but if you praise them for the big accomplishments they will learn to appreciate, set and attain goals. And I’m speaking for myself here. These are concepts that I have learned being the youngest and just being my mother’s child in general. My father would always praise me for honor roll report cards while my mother would sit back and say “that’s good.” It’s not that she wasn’t proud it’s just that why give a child extreme praise for things they ought to be doing anyway? From that one lesson of “tough love” I learned to be a better person. To never settle and to continue to set goals. My mother is a hard woman but at the center of that core she is the softest jelly bean gummy bear I’ve ever known. Just like me. So, I have set yet another goal for the both of us. For her to be the same loving mother and teaching and for myself to bring home another degree for the mantelpiece. Here’s to you Mama.