To the woman who gave me life... this is for you.

Dear Mama,

First off, I just want to tell you that I love you very much and there's so much I want to say, but I'm trying not to make this a novel.

It's clear to see that I'm a "Mama's Boy" and I want you to know that I'm proud of that! Afterall, a man is supposed to love his mama, it's the natural law of life.

From as far back as I can remember, you've always been there for me and let's be honest, the word "spoiled" fits well.

30 years ago, you brought me into this world with every intention to keep me safe, take care of me and watch me grow and I must admit that I owe every ounce of my success to both you and Dad. I strive every day to make you proud and I like to think I'm doing a good job so far. After all, I do attribute my work ethic to you!

I know we don't talk as much as we'd both like to, but I feel as though I'm closer to you now than I have ever been and that makes me happy. I know we don't see each other as much as we'd both like to... but know that your hugs and cheek-kisses make me feel at home every time.

How did I get so lucky to have such an amazing mom like you? Yes, I know I was a little "you know what" as a child, but your patience overcame and you never gave up on me. Again, you NEVER gave up on me. That's a true mother right there and if that doesn't scream love, then I don't know what does.

I understand that you often stress about things such as what's going on in my life and am I eating enough. Who I'm dating and if she's treating "her boy" right and I get that, it's motherly instincts. Just know that I'm happy and my belly's always full (radio feeds me well). My heart is in a wonderful place and it's never been as full as it is now. I have learned how to love deeply and sometimes I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve (hmm, I wonder where I got that from?), but I've learned to be strong and wear it well thanks to you.

How did I become so lucky to have such a loving and caring Mom like you? It's true and the entire family knows it. You're friends and co-workers know it and now the world knows it. You ALWAYS put others first, because that's just who you are... just don't forget about YOU. Your health and sanity are more important, so try your best to always remember that.

It hasn't exactly been the easiest lately with the passing of Grandma and Vo, but I need you to know that they are with you and always looking over us. They have passed the torch to you as the Matriarch of this family (whether you were ready or not). You are the strongest of us all, always have been and for that, I love and respect you even more.

Our family trips have made me realize how blessed and fortunate I am to be able to travel the world with you and I can't wait for our future adventures together. From the Colosseum to the cliffs of Porto Famosa in Sao Miguel, Portugal and everywhere else in between, you and Dad have given your sons a life that most people dream about. For that I am grateful and always will be.

Again, I can go on and on about your cooking and how amazing it is (no one else compares...), but I'm already 630 words deep into this letter and I'm trying to simply get to the point. That is of course this:

Thank you, Mom, for everything that you've done for me. I know I don't show it as much and believe me when I say I'm constantly working on that. I love you (and Dad/Taylor) more than anything else in this Universe and would go to the ends of the Earth and back for you, as many times necessary. You are the strongest and most beautiful woman in my life. You are the glue that holds this family together with an inseparable bond. You are the most unselfish person I have ever met and the most caring. You raised me well, Mama, and for that, I am proud of you.

Although I am 30 years old and no longer an infant you can cradle anymore, just know that I will always be your baby (a big one at that) and will always be there for you, just as you were for me.

I promise to always make the right choices in life (even if they are tough ones), to never disrespect a woman as if she was you, to go to church whenever I can (because that's how I was raised and I am devoted to the good Lord), to always finish the food on my plate (knowing of course that there are many people in the world who are hungry and we do not waste anything in this family), to give to those who are less fortunate (even if it's a few articles of clothing or a spare dollar), to never judge ANYONE, no matter what they're going through and most importantly... to always be humble and kind.

Happy Mother's Day, Mama! Thank you for being who you are and don't ever change. Even when the going gets tough, no one in this world is stronger than you and you've proved that to me for the last 30 years and to everyone else around you. I love you more than words can express... today, tomorrow and forever.

Love, your son,

-Christopher (A.K.A.Gazelle)