When I was a kid and my mom would take my sister and I to the movies, we would bring in our own candy, so it only seemed natural last weekend when we stayed at a very fancy hotel with a very fancy spa that we would bring our own mud masks.

There we were, the three of us in our spa-given robes and slippers, having just prepped our pours in the sauna room, ready for my CVS Brand mud-mask, sure to make all our beauty dreams come true. Once we applied our masks, we retreated to the “contemplation room” to snack on fruit and lemon water. As my sister peeled her third orange and gulped down her fifth glass of complementary guava juice, a very fancy-looking blond woman with gold earrings and a French manicure entered the room and took a second glance at our green faces. “Wow, what treatment is that?” she said picking up a toothpick of fruit.

“It’s the VIP mask, it’s not on the menu,” my sister replied without flinching.

The woman, who I am sure has had more than just a couple masks in her life, wasn’t sure what to think of us, but smiled and left us to contemplate in our room.

A couple of hours later, the three of us enjoyed a tea party fit for the Queen. However what was better than the scones and mini sandwiches, was the moment, the weekend we were having.

Born two days and four decades apart, my mom and younger sister are two of my favorite people in the world. This week, is their birthday week, my sister who taught me what it means to love unconditionally, was born Valentine’s Day and my mom, Penny, who loves me unconditionally, was born on Lincoln’s birthday.

Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have two women in their life who have exemplified strength, love and loyalty as my mom and sister have.

They are not perfect and neither am I, but we are each other’s go-to people. We are honest with each other about everything from big bellies and butts, to dating people who are all wrong for us.

While I have written a lot about my sister and even my dad, I haven’t written much about my mom. Like all good moms, she hangs-out in the background, performing a virtually thankless job. The truth is, she is my hero. She is the reason why I am able to enjoy the simplest of pleasures and why I know how to appreciate what is in front of me without feeling deprived of what isn’t yet mine.

My mom has taught me grace, she has taught me forgiveness, gratitude and has taught me that in this world although things won’t always go the way you planned, if your patient they will go they way they are intended.

These are not lessons she has written down or lectured me on. But rather, it is because the way she has lived her life and treated others, that I know how to live mine.

If it weren’t for her, I would not have brought the mud-mask, and if it weren’t for her and my sister, I wouldn’t feel like a VIP. Happy Birthday Mom and Jacqueline, I love you!