I'm very grateful to grow up in a house that encouraged creativity. My mom was incredibly artistic and she tried to teach me about art from a young age. When I was in first grade, she volunteered to teach an art lesson about Michaelangelo that culminated in all of us painting upside down underneath our desks to emulate Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Her favorite artists was Vincent Van Gogh, so much so that her first AOL username was VinnieVanGo. She was really good at drawing and painting, skills I did not inherit, but I still caught the arts and crafts bug. We went through a lot of crafting phases growing up: beading, rubber stamping, a short stint in scrapbooks. When I started making cards back in 2009, she was super supportive. She'd order cards from me, and send me stickers and supplies randomly in the mail; these supplies often involved the letter K as a way to get me to make her more.

Just over a year and a half ago I lost my mom to suicide. Everything about it was terrible: I FaceTimed with her the day before with no warning signs, I was overseas on vacation when I got the news, and my now-husband and I about to get engaged (which she had been nagging us about for months). The next two weeks were a blur that involved a lot of airports (Munich, Atlanta, Seattle, Detroit, Roanoke), tears, photo scanning, and poor food choices. For months that followed, I worked with a grief counselor to process everything, and today find myself in a good place.

Not only am I grateful that I grew up in a house with creativity, but I'm so grateful for the 28 years (just a few days shy of 29 years, as this all transpired right before my birthday) I had with my mom. I miss her every day, so I'm always grateful for the times where little things happen that make me think of her. Like today for example. I've been making baby-themed cards and I was looking through one of my sticker bins to see what options I had on hand. One of the sticker sets that I found was this really cute one with animals on it that fit perfectly with a baby theme. I had no idea I had these stickers until today, and it made me smile thinking how mom probably picked them up for this exact purpose years ago. The result of these stickers? The cutest card I've ever made!

Thanks, mom. I'm so grateful for everything you did for me.