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A Letter to Yvonne

You have always been a great mother. When I think of you growing up, I think of you wearing long flowing dresses in Florence and silk nightgowns at home.

I think of the sound of the coffee machine at 4 a.m. and your morning shuffle as you head outside to your little house in the backyard to write.

I think of a strong intelligent woman who oozes sensuality and smells like Opium perfume.

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I don't just think of you as a mother, I think of you as whole, because you raised me to see you that way.

You are the woman who was bold enough to pack up her life and three children and move to France.  You were never afraid to travel, with or without us, and say yes to all kinds of adventure.

You were strong enough not to take any of our bullshit through the years.  You always told us why we weren't allowed to do something and left the lines of communication open.  I was timid and snuck letters under your door.  You understood and wrote back.  I never felt the need to rebel against you because you made it clear where you were coming from.

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You have always encouraged my dreams.  When I wanted to move to Ireland you came along.  When I wanted to go to Paris after a year of university you said "Why not?"

And when I decided to marry a man you weren't quite sure of you gave me your blessing and welcomed him into our family.  You invested everything to help me plan a perfect wedding.

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When I ended it three months later, you gave me your blessing once again.  Because you knew it wasn't right, and because as dad said "Gilly is herself again."  I know that it broke your heart too.

You've been with me through the aftermath and have lovingly helped me pick up all of my pieces.  You have not judged me for living an unconventional life.  Instead you often meet me halfway or help me cover the airfare.

I'm lucky to have you as a mother.  I'm lucky to have your genetics, and am grateful every time I notice how much parts of me resemble you.  I'm grateful when I find I have an ounce of your strength.

On top of that I just feel really lucky to know you.  Even if you weren't my mother I would hope that we would cross paths and become immediate friends.  That we would see we share the same fire and share our ideas on life over a bottle of wine.

You are an incredible woman, and you manage to be an incredible mother on top of that, so thank you.  I love you.