In honor of Small Business Saturday, our own Stephanie Smith sat down and wrote a Facebook post that perfectly encapsulated the way she — and all of us — feel about small businesses. She captured the beautiful storm of excitement and stress and commitment that we see in small businesses all over Southern Maryland.

It was too good not to share. Here’s what she wrote …

I grew up in small businesses. I’ve raised my children in a small business. My whole life has been surrounded by family owned small businesses.

My grandmother started JRJ Income Tax Service Inc in an old chicken house off a back road in the ‘80’s. My father raised me in his automotive shop. Some of my earliest memories involve that old office, a tree house and my cousins.

Growing up, I saw it all. I saw the hardships of finances, the disappointment of not making payroll and the frustration of big box competitors who had deep pockets. We didn’t have time off, sick days, retirement plans, and definitely no health insurance. If we had a family emergency, the whole business was closed.

But what I also saw made all the difference for me. I saw the excitement when a new client paid. The tears of appreciation after receiving a thank you card. Clients that drove hundred of miles and wait hours just to come and sit with my grandma. I saw the friendships with clients that became family.

I literally saw owners work seven days a week and never receive a paycheck. (Seriously, who does that??? I’ll tell you who, a passionate, committed, fully invested small business owner)

I love small business so much that I started a small business for small business owners. The small business owners I work with are normal, extraordinary, talented, masters of their craft, passionate people trying to make a way for their dream and a better life for their families. I believe there is so much similar between a business structure and a family unit.

Remember to #shopsmallbusiness not only today but every chance you get, you will significantly impact local children and their families.

And to every small business owner out there, I see you; hustling, stressing, and growing. You are brave and are truly the backbone of this country. You are making a difference. Not only for your clients but for your family. Keep your head held high, and remember, you got this! You are embarking on the most beautiful adventure, enjoy the ride! Small business, you truly have my ❤️ !