My mom was a "tiger mother" before it became a term. She was fierce and expected perfection.
I always knew she loved me, even if she had a funny way of showing it. She played the game of life with her own rules, and she instilled that attitude in her daughters, too.
Like most teenagers, there were times when I believed I was right, and my mom was completely wrong.
But as I break into my late 20s, I've realized she's been right one all along.
These are the times I needed my mom, but I just didn't know it at the time:
1. When I got my first speeding ticket
If there weren’t any cops around, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to find out just how fast our 1996 Toyota 4Runner could go. (It was never that fast.)
This bad habit eventually caught up to me at the tender age of 16, just six months after I became a licensed driver.
After the police officer left me in my car holding that little piece of paper, tears rolled down my cheeks. I handed my keys over to my parents the second I walked through my front door, still crying.
I fully expected my parents (my mom in particular) to yell at me.
My mom told me if she took my keys away, she would have to take me to all my athletic practices. So taking away my driving privileges wasn't an option.
Instead, she hugged me and told me to slow down.
When I got another speeding ticket at 22, she repeated herself and added I should slow down in life, too.
She was always right.
2. When I got dumped
My first love left me for someone else.
My heart was breaking, and my mind was constantly going over ideas on how to get him back.
Groveling was my method of choice. (We’ve all been there.)
She always told me to be assertive, yet mysterious when it came to the opposite sex. But when it came to love, listening was never my strong suit.
After I went through the process of getting dumped, groveling and (thankfully) getting rejected again, my mom wasn't the person I wanted to see.
I felt like I had disappointed her with my behavior.
I was young and naïve, and the first love is always the hardest to quit. Even though she knew I deserved better and had more self-respect, she comforted me by telling me he was an idiot.
She taught me to never beg and, most importantly, if it’s meant to be, it will be.
3. When I failed a final
My mom expected nothing less than perfection when it came to school. A "B" was just unacceptable.
Her reins eventually loosened when I made it to college, though.
After walking out of a college final I was almost positive I had failed, I called my mom to tell her the news before I made it back to my dorm.
I managed to express my concern with my broken voice, and I anticipated a harsh reply filled with disappointment.
To my surprise, my mom assured me the outcome of my final probably wouldn’t be as bad as I expected. As long as I tried my best, I should just start to breathe.
As per usual, she was right, and I (barely) passed said final.
4. The day she died
Her last breath was taken both slowly and quickly, all at once.
Did I really have to go through the rest of my life without my mom?
Who was going to be right when I was wrong?
The person who was making me cry was the person I needed the most.
She once told me she knew I would be okay the day her absence became a reality. However, I didn’t know if her statement was that accurate.
Going through my 20s seemed like challenge enough when I was 23, but to go through them without my mom was unfathomable.
Now, at 27, I still sometimes question how I’ve made it this far, but I realize it’s because of my mom.
On this day and every day since, my mom is the first person I want to see, and in almost every situation, she's the only person I need.