When my mom was a child her birthday cake was usually the day old Easter cake from a bakery. When I was growing up I don't remember ever having a store bought cake. She made me my favorite cola cake or carrot cake, depending on which I asked for that year after much agonizing over the choice. They were both always wonderful, although rarely perfect. I never felt they were lesser because of that. They were always the perfect birthday cake for me. Made by my mom. For me. Thanks, mom.
My mom never felt she fit in or that people held her in any kind of esteem. We tried to convince her otherwise over the years but her childhood of neglect and inner struggles just wouldn't let her believe it. She didn't want us to have a funeral service for her so we didn't, but I think it would have been a packed house. She was a quiet, unassuming, approachable, friendly, completely accepting and honest person and I admire and hope to emulate all those qualities I saw in her. She taught me to be thoughtful and kind to others. She helped us to enjoy and celebrate holidays so that one day my siblings and I would share that joy with our own kids and families. She taught me to see the beauty and value in the natural world, both forest and garden. She loved growing things and always had beautiful flowers in her yard. They weren't always the most tailored and tidy flower gardens, but they were much loved and she took care of them so they thrived and bloomed for her.
That is what she did for me. Cared for me so that I have thrived and am blooming. She was perfect to me. She was my mom.
Happy Birthday, Mom. I hope you have found peace for your soul. It is what I always wished for you in life.