It’s something I can count on—like the sun rising in the morning or my 2-year-old crawling in bed with me during the night—I just know it will happen. Within minutes after putting up a new post on my blog, I get a notification that someone has commented. My most faithful reader has come back again. I smile and think to myself, “Thanks Mom!”

From the time she put me on the church stage to sing a special at 3 years old until today when she shares by blog posts via Facebook, my mom has always been on the front row of my life. She cheers me on, encourages me, and celebrates little victories like no one else can.

My mom is my number one fan.

Growing up, I don’t remember feeling insecure or desperate for acceptance the way many teens seem to. Yes, I wished my thighs were a little smaller and my athletic ability was a little more existent, but my flaws were not my focus. My mom (and dad) always emphasized my strengths and cheered me on in anything I did. As a child, I believed I would one day be a famous singer because of the way my talent was praised. And I may have been a terrible basketball player, but I was proud of the way I “hustled” because my parents said I should be. And although the high school “Who’s Who” never told me so, I believed I was beautiful, talented, and intelligent because the folks at home convinced me so.

I am so thankful for that affirmation.

To this day, when I receive an honor, award or opportunity, I can count on my mom to be as excited as—or even more so than—me.

Mom knows my heart so well that she knows what makes it sing, and when it sings, she dances. My joy is like her own.

I can’t imagine not having my Mom to call when things go right (or wrong for that matter). My joys would be a little less pleasurable if I couldn’t share them with such a kindred spirit—someone who birthed me, molded me, and has been intricately involved in every season.

Thank you, Mama, for always being my home side, my cheering section, my number one fan. It’s given me the confidence I need to navigate life well and has truly made the journey a joy.