By Leigh Sampson

To write about my role models, I could have picked teachers, I could have picked people extremely influential in their field, and I could have picked models and other aesthetically pleasing individuals. But instead, I found the perfect combination of all three: my mother. There isn't one person on this earth more educational, more competent, and more aesthetically pleasing than my mother. And there isn't one person on this earth that can re-direct my role model focus from her.

My mother has suffered parental loss, the threat of cancer and what might be one of the hardest things to do, raising two girls. At this stage in her life, my mother is a highly respected woman in the Psychology world, a highly respected woman in the Catholic Church, and a highly respected woman in my family. She's held us together in times of loss and suffering, she's provided things for me that no other person could. Things like moral and emotional support of my music career.

When I told her I wanted to go into music, flute performance especially, she knew that it would be challenging and that I'd be looking for jobs left and right. But she also knew that I was a good player and key figure in the musical world both in my school, state and country, having performed in Europe. Flute is one of the most difficult instruments to be proficient in and master. However, she held me high and let me do what I knew I loved instead of encouraging me to go into a more "stable" field.

Some may say it's easy to choose your mother for a role model, that it's a no-brainer. Not so. Not only does my mother have a professional attitude worth emulating, she has the attitude of a child, too. None of my other friends' mom's are willing to stick their tongue at you while telling you "I told you so!", in jest of course. They're not willing to talk like me either, saying things like "That sucks" and "I can dig it."

I've seen my mother spit milk across our kitchen table and I've seen her dance and be-bop around the house, mocking my sister and me. I think she's so cool for driving a convertible at age 43, still looking young and not losing that youthful soul. She's got better fashion sense than I do. We go shopping and have a blast every time. I think she's the greatest for being able to come home from a long day of practicing Psychotherapy, dealing with people crazier than I, and just chill out in the living room with me, a glass of wine and Jerry Springer. Either that or Real World.

No matter how old I may get, I know I'll always still be my mother's baby, her "little bunny" as she calls me. I'm still the little baby she came home with from the hospital. I'm still the girl with pigtails trying to cheat my sister in Monopoly and make unfair candy trades at Halloween. I'm still the world-class flutist, playing in my room for hours at a time, tirelessly. She always finds time to go to my concerts and recitals. But I'm so much more now. I'm a young adult. A college student. I've transcended that "reprimand and scold" stage to the "friend and daughter" stage. My mother is my life and my soul, someone that will always be a part of me, no matter how old this little bunny gets.

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