I met the beautiful Sergeant Major Greta Brayboy-Runnels when I was seven years old. After a rough, but non-traumatic period in foster care, she was to be my new and permanent Mommy. Growing up, I would not say that I was afraid of my Mom, but I learned early on that the most minimal amount of disrespect and nonsense would be tolerated in her household. The bad thing is, even when my childlike mind was angry that I could barely get away with anything, her tactics made perfect sense. At age ten, I slammed my bedroom door out of anger and as I heard her footsteps approach I knew that only Jesus could save me. Mom had a smirk on her face and a toolbox in her hand. My door was removed in five minutes. “See child,” she said while putting away her tools, ” When you get your own house, you can slam doors. Not in here.” I found this statement to be logical, but I missed my privacy. That was the whole point. I once begged for a slice of cheesecake that Mom had said that I could not have while we were out to eat at the local Piccadilly. She gave in after I continued to ask, and I thought a victory had happened. After I ate all of my “regular” food, it was time for dessert! I cut into the slice of cheesecake and immediately spit it out once it touched my taste buds. “Mom! There is something wrong with this!” She looked at me with a smile, “Nope. It’s sugar-free. And you are not leaving until every bit is gone.” She read her bible as I cried, eating the pie, embarrassed to be out in public and regretting begging for anything. Sometimes I feel as though I have not amounted to much, or to the standards that my Mother held for me while I was growing up, but she always tells me that she is proud of me. It is her sixty-fifth birthday and I am thankful to God that this day happened because I always wanted a Mother’s love. I always felt that I was not owed the love since my biological mother did not have the capacity at that time, to love her own children. God blessed me with a Mother that I can brag about. “Yeah, my Mom is a retired Sergeant Major.” And best believe I say it with pride. She has protected me from pain, and let me endure pain to teach me that for every action, there is a reaction or consequence. Now, she is no longer the disciplinarian, but she still drops seeds of knowledge when I call her crying like twenty-something year old daughters always do. Happy Birthday to the most beautiful person that I know and has stood by me through all my rights, wrongs, and in-between. If I ever caused you pain while I was growing up I try every day in my adulthood to show you respect, love, and friendship. I love you, SGM.