The person who has had the greatest influence on my life is my Mother. She has been a constant motivating force, always challenging me in a loving way to reach higher, and to love and honor myself. She has taught me the importance of education and the joy that cultivating a passion for reading can bring to my life. My mother has frequently stressed over the years the importance of setting personal goals for myself. My parents divorced when I was a toddler, leaving her a single parent. I watched as she struggled to care for me and learned from her unwavering dedication to raising me well. As tired as she was from her long or stressful days, she never once neglected to check my homework, nor did she miss an opportunity to help me learn a lesson. My two favorite memories from childhood are of dinnertime and bedtime. During dinnertime we would rehash our day, and my mother would offer me praise and encouragement for my accomplishments, or would challenge me and offer direction when I had come up short in some way. At bedtime we would select a book to read and we would lose ourselves together in its pages.
My grandmother has also motivated me throughout my life. She, more than anyone else, has been the source of my strength. My grandma took my love of history and used it as a tool to mold, teach and direct me through life, which helped me become the person I am today.