We turned onto the open freeway.
I knew the route by heart, as one we traveled almost weekly. These rides usually went one of three ways. Sometimes there was laughter and mindless chatter. Other days there was music and podcasts. This time there was silence.
I stared out my window, my eyes tracing the same trees and hedges we passed the week before. The same yellows and oranges shading the trees. The same uncut hedges lining the highway. The same debris and spare car tires littering the berm. The same questions.
I looked over at my mom, softly biting her cheek, trying to stay strong. She was exhausted too, her eyes glazed over as she focused on the miles ahead. She met my gaze and offered a weak smile.
I suddenly realized how much my mom carries.
That was a few months ago; since then, I have seen just how my life affects hers. How when I smile, her face lights up and when I cry, she cries along with me. How she always sees the best in me.
I realize how many “thank yous” have been left unsaid, and today I want to change that. Thank you, mom, for always loving me, always being here for me, and always encouraging me to dream. Every day, you show me that love bears all things.
I have also learned that these little things matter. These shared moments are what make life beautiful. And I never want to stop saying thank you.