My mother passed away when I was 13 years old. It wasn’t sudden. She knew that she wouldn’t live to see me graduate high school or get married. My mother had been sick for most of my life and a single parent to my little brother and me. Now that I am a mother and I am 1 year away from being the same age she was when she died, I find myself reflecting more and more about the short period of time she had to raise me and teach me and nurture me and love me.

13 years is a blink of an eye.

How can I possibly teach my four daughters to be all the things they need to be? Strong. Independent. Courageous. As well as important life skills like cooking, sewing, banking, taxes, budgeting, saving, relationships. The list is neverending. These are things I think about constantly because I know that I am not invincible. I know that I could die in a car accident. I know that I could get cancer again and not be as lucky as the first time. I know that life is a bitch sometimes.

My mom was worried about leaving me unprepared. I don’t blame her. It couldn’t have been easy knowing that you had a disease with an expiration date. I wish she could see that I did alright. I still hear here voice telling me that I am worthy of a kind and gentle love. I remember her passion and warning about the rights of my body and that no man (or woman) should hit or hurt me. I remember the day she taught me how to make pork chops in mushroom soup and I made a mistake that almost ruined the whole meal and that she was patient and kind with me when she showed me how to fix it.

I remember when she talked to me about depression and sadness and about asking for help because there would always be someone who cares and will listen, even if it’s a stranger. I remember taking written instructions to the bank machine on my bike to do her banking as the start to managing my own finances. I remember the encouragement she gave me when I joined a public speaking club in the 6th grade. I remember how special she made me feel when she threw me a surprise 13th birthday party, 8 months before she died. I remember calling her from my first babysitting job at age 12 to get advice on what to do with a baby that wouldn’t stop crying. I remember watching her suffer thru pain and suffering and still made time to counsel women at a local distress centre in our community.

I remember it all.

Yes, 13 years is a blink of an eye but I got more than enough in those moments to propel me forward to the woman and mother I am today. I’m here. I’m alive. I’m a wife, a mom, a friend, a survivor. So for all you moms out there who are wondering every single day about whether you’re teaching your sons and daughters the right things, enough things, just all the things, stop worrying. Whether you have 13 years, 30 years or a lifetime of years to raise your kids, they will take everything you say to them, do for them, do with them and show them and they will be just fine too.

And so I want to tell my mom and all you moms,

Dear Mom,

You did a great job raising me in 13 years.

Happy Mother’s Day.


{original post date 5/10/2015}
About the author: Tiffany Grisdale is the Dirty Girl behind the saucily successful lifestyle blog, She writes about her journey to figuring out what her life is going to look like after being a stay at home mom for over 10 years. She is a mom to four girls, including twins, it goes without saying that she is a goddess of efficiency and a pathological list maker. Tiffany shares the dirt on everything in her life from recipes to travel to her favourite cars on the road today. She is a cancer survivor, sushi devourer, runner and karaoke queen. Follow her on,,, Snapchat/mydirt and


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  1. Dear Tiffany: I was very touched by your writing. You were blessed to have your special mother for 13 years. It is not the number of years in a life, it is the life in the years, and your mother shared so many important things with you during the time you had together. I will pray that you have many more years with your cherished daughters.

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