Today is my mom’s birthday. If she were with us she would be 63 today. It is a very bittersweet day for me. I spent years of my life loving my mother deeply, yet being driven crazy by her as well. We had some similar traits we were both stubborn, opinionated and moved to our own beat in life. Yet we were very different as well and those differences could sometimes make life very interesting when we were together.

She didn’t always understand my life, but she always cheered me on, encouraging me to create the life I dreamed of. She was concerned when I began looking at overseas jobs yet when I decided to head to Guam for a new job she was happy for me and glad I was creating the life I dreamed of. She always worried about me, maybe all mother’s worry unneccessarily for their grown daughters.

I remember when I learned to scuba dive on Guam. I told her about learning the emergency breathing procedures, where we did breathing off a buddys air by turns. She said she never wanted to know when I was going diving again. I laugh now, but her worries used to drive me crazy. I realize now she was just expressing her love through her worry and always wanting me to be safe and have the best in life.

I miss her today, I miss her every week and every year. But thankfully with ten years time my pain is less and the tears fewer. I still cry every year on her birthday and at times in between when I wish she were here. Today I focus more on remembering wonderful memories, treasured days, her smile, her jokes. The way she filled the house with flowers and beautiful things.

Each year I do something special in honor of mom on her birthday. Whether it’s plant her favorite flowers, buy something for my home that reminds me of her, or light a special candle and let it burn all day to remind her I love her. This year I chose to do all three. Last week I bought a door mat for my front door that says,” Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often” My mother embodied that attitude in her life and today and every day I want to remember to live with joy as she lived. A cake scented candle is lit on my cofee table for mom as well. She filled her home with yummy scented candles, saying it was the closest she was getting to baking! So on this day as my mom watches over me I know she feels my love and knows I am doing all I can to live my very best life and help others create theirs by my example and my writing.