My mother has been gone for more than twenty years now, and of course I still miss her. She was shy in public, the type who never wanted to call attention to herself. (Obviously, I took after my dad in that regard.) Yet, she was fiercely protective of her family and was quite capable of speaking up if she felt her husband or children were being wronged. The songs of the ’40s and ’50s that she sang around the house remain firmly fixed in my memory. So do the colorful expressions from her West Virginia mountaineer background. When I hear other women talk about the conflicts they had with their mothers, I feel so very lucky. My mother was always in my corner. Of that there was no doubt whatsoever. She wasn’t around for many of the milestones in my life, late bloomer that I turned out to be. She missed my second wedding and my acquisition of a graduate degree. She didn’t get to visit me in Florida in person, but she is with me every day in spirit.