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"It may seem cliche, but my mom made such a huge impact on my life that without her, I am sure I would not have turned into the woman I am today. Life was not always easy growing up, dad was a fire fighter and worked multiple jobs when he was not on duty, so he wasn't home as much as other dads, but mom did great managing us three unruly children. She taught us well, and we behaved like polite little angels in public, but could be real monsters at home. I still don't know how she survived all of us. Money would get tight but if the power was shut off, we had a family slumber party, if the gas was shut off, we would grill out, if the car broke down - we would go on an adventure hike. What could have been scary for kids, she made fun. While I was in college, my dad let us kids know he was leaving our mom. I wasn't sure how she would handle that and was prepared to leave college to help her through it. That was sooo not necessary. Mom took the divorce as her time to shine, re-discover herself, take adventures (she took a trip to Cancun with a friend - her 1st trip requiring a passport!), and she become the strong and amazing woman I admire every day. She showed me that adversity is just an adventure that allows your true self to shine through. I didn't realize it as a child, but as an adult, I can look back now and see how strong a woman she has always been. She wonders where I got my spunk and confidence from - all she has to do is look in the mirror - because I am a strong woman because of her! Next time she comes out for a visit, she is just cool enough at 73 years old, to enjoy a fine cigar and a glass of wine on the deck with me. Why, because it's another adventure and although she quit smoking decades ago, it's a cigar, and I think she would have some fun with it!" - Kris