There have been 21 years of hugs, tears, laughter and love.

12 years of soccer practices. Three years of care packages and phone calls to make up for the missed Thanksgivings and birthdays.

It’s been four years since the last time I had the chance to wish you a happy Mother’s Day in person.

The decision to go to school halfway across the country wasn’t an easy one, but it was one that you and Dad fully supported me in.

There have been four different majors and three different apartments.

With every change and every difficult decision, you were there. Your support hasn’t wavered once in 21 years, and that is not an easy feat.

You showed me love and encouragement when I made the choice to move to a state no one in our family had ever visited, to a city I couldn’t even spell. But your support in letting me pursue writing as a career is something I will never take for granted or forget.

I can honestly say that every step of this journey has been both terrifying and amazing — even the hard days. And knowing you are only a phone call or text away keeps me going.

The on-demand pictures of our animals is also something that isn’t lost on me. Even though I despise cliches, I can’t argue with the fact that college has taught me — it’s the little things in life that make someone happy.

Even though we — because this is a group effort — still have two more years of college to make it through, I couldn’t wait that long to tell you how much you mean to me.

Now, this all sounds like rainbows and butterflies, but it hasn’t always been easy. There were days I thought you were out to get me (17-year-old Madison apologizes) and days we just did not get along. But the wonderful thing about you and I? We always figure it out.

You have become one of my best friends, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I know I can always come to you, especially when I need to know what temperature to bake chicken at — that’s a question I will ask for years to come.

I realize there have been days I don’t tell you I love you enough and weeks I don’t call home.

My hope for the future is that I continue to learn from your compassion, thoughtfulness and humor.

It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if I turned out to be just like you.

Your strength to raise three (difficult-at-times) children who rarely got along, all with a spouse who was frequently on deployment, amazes me each day.

Whether it’s on the sideline of my soccer games or through text messages congratulating me on an A, I know you’re my biggest supporter and I apologize if I don’t thank you enough.

You were my first teacher and friend. For that, I cannot thank you enough, no matter how much I try.

You support me in my dream to write, so I found it only fitting to put my feelings into words for your day.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you, always.

— Your loving daughter, Madison.

Madison Spratto is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @Madi_Spratto.