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This past Mother’s Day I spent the day with my Mom, sister and daughter. On Sunday morning, my sister pulled out albums and pictures of our shared past. We laughed  and reminisced over several photographs. There were so many old memories, ones that I knew that happened, but discovered for the first time. An old black and white picture showed where it all began. A photographer captured my mother sitting next to my father on their wedding day. My mom looked serious as she gazed into the camera and my father’s black rimmed glasses accented the white cone-shaped hat that laid on top of his full head of hair.

I looked over at my daughter who laughed at my high-school pictures. My teenage years are defined by one word: awkward. She glanced at some of my baby pictures and said, “Momma, you are so adorable.” We sifted through more of my baby pictures and snapshots of my sister and I sharing some of the same glimmers of childhood: sitting on the lap with Santa, standing next to each other at birthdays, and taking pics outside of the Alamo and the beach.

As I shuffled through more memories that fell like a quick trail of dominoes, I pinched myself. Sometimes you realize the glimmers that occur in your life and will not repeat. My lens focused on these ladies in my life. I realized that the bits and pieces of these particular women and little girl shape so much of who I am. Much like the photographs over the years carve out the landscape of our lives, where you come from shares an equally important spotlight.

My mother has taught me that it is never too late to begin again. I know she misses my father every moment of each day, but her insides are glued with a resilience that allows her to move forward. Her days are filled with “remember when,” but she also is inching toward focusing on a new and more independent life. It is hard to leave the only life you knew, but my mother has demonstrated that it can be done. I am proud that she is my mother.

My sister and I are almost a decade apart, but she’s taught me to embrace my sillier side. I’ve always tilted toward the intense, but my sister lightens my outlook. There is familiar cadence when we are together. She is the only person in the entire universe that understands the details of our childhood and that shared history binds us in ways that sometimes we cannot articulate.

My daughter is my light. I never thought motherhood could be so life altering, but everyday, she shows me how to wonder, laugh and embrace gratitude. She pushes me to embrace joy with an abundance that I never realized. One of my most important lessons comes from her: how to let go.

These three ladies – they are where I come from.

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