Sitting down trying to write this story about our mom, I find myself oddly at a loss for words.

How do you write about someone who you’ve known from the very first day of life but, sadly, really never knew? Who surrendered each day and night to make sure you had everything possible to grow up healthy?

Mom is the one that gave comfort when we came running in bloodied from fights or our latest misadventures. She was the one who held us as we cried about the silliest little things that went wrong in our lives — and some things not so little or not so silly.

Mom held our hands throughout our entire life, and during her last few months I was fortunate enough to be there to hold hers. It was only then that I’d grown enough as a person to actually start to understand what gifts she had given to us all — and see her as the truly amazing person she was.

Except for that brief moment in time, I never really knew the person I’d called Mom for the first twenty-five years of my life.

During the last eight years, I’ve had the pleasure of performing the bulk of the childcare for our two granddaughters, Little One and Sweet Caroline. The early years were filled with countless sleepless nights and bottle feeding, diaper changing, and comforting by rocking and holding one of them after a bad dream.

There have been days walking around in a sleep-deprived fog when I thought I’d wouldn’t make it another step —,much less another day. Over the years through all of their adventures, misadventures, school functions and sporting events, I’ve watched the girls grow older, kinder, and wiser as they explore the wonders of this world. (Just like, I’m sure, our mom did with us five kids.)

Their childhood has been very similar to the one my three brothers, The Sister and I enjoyed while growing up back on Flamingo. I should know. I’ve lived them both.

Taking care of them has given me a glimpse into the life of our mom. In doing so, I’ve grown much closer to her. How she took care of five children at once is a wonder. I’m now starting to understand how much she actually gave to all of us five kids. She not only gave us life, she gave us her life in everything that she did. Thank you, Mom, for the life you gave us. Your little boy misses you everyday.

For the moms out there everywhere, thank you for all you have given — and for what you have given up. Though the long days and even longer nights may turn into shorter and shorter years, everything you’ve done has made a difference in you child’s life and will be long remembered.

Happy Mother’s Day.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001.]