Peechaya Burroughs for TIME
June 17, 2016 5:04 PM EDT

I spent the majority of my childhood being raised by a single mother. From age 6 to 16, it was just me, my younger sister and my mom living in our suburban Colorado house. My sister and I loved this: We could crawl into our mother’s bed at all hours of the night without feeling like burdens, we could walk around the house with little to no clothes on and we could talk about anything and everything at the dinner table. Our all-female household was freeing, and for our tight-knit trio, our home was a safe haven.

Our mom was almost constantly there to help with (read: do) science fair projects, to drive us to our various extracurricular activities and to host plenty of slumber parties.

My sister and I also loved the rare days when our mom had to work late (it meant we got to eat Lean Cuisines while watching the Disney Channel until way past our bedtimes) or when we came home to an empty house after school (we could finally do our homework before playing outside!).

Read more: How Your Relationship With Your Mom Can Predict Your Success

My mom spent much of the 10 years she raised my sister and me on her own fighting for child support and struggling to afford the financial strain of raising two kids. In true single-mother fashion, though, she endured all of this without ever tipping us off about the stress she must have been experiencing. She shrugged off the long work days and the weeks spent in a courtroom so that her kids could live in blissful oblivion. She crafted a wonderfully normal childhood for us while she single-handedly balanced all of the struggles of raising two children.

My mother was both parents combined—she did everything alone and left no gaps. We were loved, and our lives were full, always.

There are never enough opportunities to celebrate my mother for all of the sacrifices she made. So happy Father’s Day, Mom. Thank you for giving us everything.


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