If you were to ask me who my biggest role model was, it wouldn’t be any big-name celebrities or human rights activists. I’d tell you it’s Ann Marie Vaccarelli, my mother. In such uncertain scary times, where is she? She’s being a kick-ass nurse in the hospital today on Mother’s Day. She’s in the hospital every other day, on the front lines saving lives. She is the most selfless person I know. Do you think she lets me see her scared? No, she’s too brave. The only time she sounds excited anymore is when she’s telling me that a patient is doing better, talking about seeing me after all of this, or has a glass of Paddy’s when she gets home after a long day.
I can’t even blame her. I can’t imagine doing what she does everyday. I don’t think I’d be able to handle it with nearly as much grace and humor as she does. She is the strongest woman I have ever met. Anything hard life throws at her, she says “no thank you” and refuses to accept “no” for an answer.
Diet not working? “Watch out world! I’m on keto now and lost an entire ‘Katie Ann’!”
You can’t have children: Adopts an absolute legend.
You won’t graduate: Graduates top of her class.
This quality is one of the many I hope I keep from her and one day pass on to my children. She’s done everything she could to make me feel safe, make me feel hopeful, and make me feel loved. So what do you get for a mother like this on Mother’s Day? No gift card, funny coffee mug, or bouquet of flowers could show her for a second how much I love her and how thankful I am for her. So instead I am going to thank her for a few things here:
Thank you for always unconditionally loving me and making me feel accepted.
Thank you for your friendship.
Not everyone is blessed enough to be close with their mother the way we are. I cherish our long talks on the deck at night or on FaceTime when you are in your office.
Thank you for always believing in me.
Thank you for going for long drives when I needed to practice singing and didn’t want anyone in the house.
Even though I sometimes found you hiding in the doorway listening to me.
Thank you for taking care of my Kujo when I moved out to finish college.
And for taking full and complete ownership of him even when I come to visit.
Thank you for showing me it’s never too late to accomplish certain goals, like losing a TON of weight and looking incredible.
Even though we all know the pounds went right to Kujo.
Thank you for making anyone I ever dated wish they one day could have mother-in-law as cool as you.
I think it was the special way you’d tell the embarrassing story about me counting my poop in the tub as a baby that won them over.
Thank you for being a brave nurse and saving lives for a living.
I know it’s worth it when you get to see patients go home safe and sound, even though you have to wipe the occasional butt (you’re welcome for the training by the way.)
Thank you for always telling me over and over how talented and special you think I am.
Thank you for crying with me on the couch when we watch animal or romance movies together.
Thank you for all those years of watching 90210 with me in high school.
It wasn’t just my favorite show because it was AWESOME, but because I looked forward to watching it every week with you.
Thank you for surprising me with concert tickets to Hilary Duff, a.k.a Lizzy McGuire, as a child.
I will never forget that I got the chance to take a picture with her cardboard cutout.
Thank you for always making Christmas special.
You always bit the carrots in such a way that I could believe in anything.
Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on over the years.
Thank you for always thinking I’m funny even when I’m not.
My sense of humor comes from the best.
Thank you for never making me feel like I missed out on anything.
Every program you involved me in, every gift, and every trip we went on.
Thank you for passing down your love of dogs to me.
Every dog I pet on the streets is also very thankful for this.
Thank you for being my own personal healthcare sounding board.
I know it’s not easy having a hypochondriac daughter on your days off.
Thank you for taking me on the best mother-daughter vacation I will never forget.
I have all the photos and videos to cherish forever. Even the one on our balcony that you HAD to video tape…after my “oopsie”.
Thank you for being the best interior design consultant.
There is no one else I’d rather walk around a Home Goods with and sneakily toss things into their shopping cart.
Thank you for letting me do your makeup and nails when I was a little girl and not good at it at ALL yet.
Even though we both know you benefited from those pedicures, foot rubs, and hair brushing.
Thank you for doing “beautiful eyes, nose, and lips” with me as a child.
Sometimes I still wish I could get that to fall asleep.
Thank you for making me your daughter.
Anyone would’ve been lucky enough to have this. But, I am glad it was you.
I could write an infinite number of “thank-yous” but I need to save some for next time. I love you mom, more than you could ever know. I can’t wait for our next trip together. I can’t wait until we can finally hang out together when this is all over. You are SO appreciated, by everyone around you. I hope you never forget that.