Today is bittersweet. It's my parents', John and Carol Gallagher, 59th wedding anniversary, but sadly my dad is not here to celebrate with his bride as he passed away three years ago this past December. The photo is from when they renewed their vows on their 25th anniversary.

As I reminisce about my childhood, I thank my parents for so many things, like teaching me that honesty is always, and I mean always the best policy. That hard work always pays off and that there is no such thing as FREE. It always costs somebody something.

They taught me to be kind and respectful and to remember where I came from and to not judge a book by its over. They also instilled in me to never take love or life for granted because it can change in a second.

To my mom, Carol, who will be 82 in June, thank you for giving me the strength to find my own way and supporting me, even when I made mistakes. Above all else, thank you for loving me unconditionally through everything (especially my teenage years) and for loving my husband and your grandchildren.

To my dad, oh my goodness where do I start. I miss you every day. I am thankful that I got to spend time with you in the last few months leading up to your passing. As a young girl, I hated all of your rules, but as an adult, and especially as a wife and mother, I thank you for being the leader of our family and being strong, and yes, sometimes being overbearing with your damn rules. I love you more than you ever knew while you were on this earth.

Watching my parents over the years has most definitely set the standard for how I look at marriage (Brett and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary in February). What I've learned from my parents is that marriage is work. It's not supposed to be a fight, but a partnership where you both bring something to the table.  Some days, it's not a 50/50 split. You need to know when to bend and forgive and when to stand your ground and still keep the integrity of your pride, love, and marriage.

I pray that my children will look at their grandparents' marriage and our marriage and learn from them and that they will grow up to be a better wife, husband, and parent.