I called my mother every day when I was away at school this year. Sometimes it was because I was having a personal crisis, or I wanted her to send me another cookie pie in the mail, but most of the time it was because I just truly loved to talk to her. When she was in the hospital I told my dad I couldn’t imagine my life without her because not only was she my mother, but she was my best friend. When I said that, my dad looked at me and said, “Well that can’t be, because she’s my best friend too!” She was so sincere, so thoughtful, and so genuinely caring in everything she did that I think pretty much anyone who ever interacted with her couldn’t help but love her. I could talk for days and still lack adequate words to sufficiently describe all of her perfect characteristics. My mom truly went above and beyond to give our family the best, most fulfilling lives as possible. Now, I’m the expensive child of the family by far. My mom dedicated thousands of hours and countless weekends driving me to piano lessons, horse shows, my out of state college and uncomplainingly partaking in all other activities associated with those things for me. The funny thing is, though, is that the best memories I have of those paycheck-consuming activities are driving home in the car with my mom. We’d laugh about the many eccentricities of my piano teacher, relive the play-by-plays of my rides, plan excitedly for school, or simply just talk about our days. Another incredible thing my mother did for us was plan these amazing trips. We’ve been to the Grand Canyon, Ireland, New York, Jamaica, Italy, Yellowstone, and just about everywhere in between. All of these trips wouldn’t have been possible without my mom’s painstaking planning and forethought, always picking attractions and activities to appeal specifically to each of us. However, once again, my favorite memories from all of these amazing adventures are from our family car rides during them, like when we created our alter ego, the Farfiggnewgyn family, on the way home from seeing snow in North Carolina, getting lost in our midget sized rent-a-car throughout the Irish countryside, and ceremoniously cutting up our season passes to Busch Gardens after we were so annoyed at being stuck in traffic for hours on the way home. I honestly can’t even remember all of the places we’ve been, but I sure do remember all the things we got to do together and talk about on our car rides. The greatest things my mother gave us were not really things, and in my opinion, she definitely had her priorities straight in that regard. The experiences, memories, values, and love she gave to our family were her greatest gifts, and they are truly priceless.