Mom, if you're reading this, grab your tissues. Sorry.
And there are things that I am now that I would not be without the days of my childhood; without my Mom. My loving daddy, with his big, scarred belly and his beard the color of chocolate, helped to shape me as well (that's another blog post, Dad, and don't worry, I will point out that your belly is no longer big). Nobody, however, leaves a more lasting impression on a girl than her mama.
She taught me to cook. She did not actually instruct me in cooking, but she taught me that preparing a good meal for my family is one of the most honorable ways to spend my time. She never said so in words, of course. Her Turkey Pot Pie spoke for itself.
She taught me to think about the needs of others. One Christmas, for example, we received a trip to Disney World rather than hoards of toys. On our way south from Michigan we handed out cute bundles of homemade Christmas cookies to the gas station attendants who were working on Christmas Day. It was my mother's idea. "Do something nice for someone, it will cheer you up," she would tell me when I was having a bad day. Now I tell my children the same thing.