My Nana Andersen continually reminded me of the importance of good posture—to stand up straight with my shoulders back, both feet firmly planted on the ground. She taught me to remove the glove from my right hand and hold it in my still gloved left before shaking hands. She showed me the importance of an education, being informed and having an opinion.

My grandmother Young was the warmest woman I have ever known. Every day, she demonstrated the importance of laughter and humor. The marriage she shared with my grandfather was the happiest I have witnessed. They had fun; they laughed; they hugged and kissed. She appreciated all she had.

She enjoyed the moments of her life, which—I have grown to realize—is the secret to happiness.

My mother loved me. There is nothing more important than a mother’s love; I am so thankful that my mother loved me. She loved me absolutely and unconditionally, the way only a mother can.

I have an incredible life: a wonderful husband, and amazing relationships, experiences and accomplishments. But nothing approaches the love I have or the joy I get from my children, Alison and Gregory. Alison, age 9, wrote this for me last night:

Mom, sometimes I imagine us together in a field of daisies lying on our backs together, looking at the sky—
wondering why we got so lucky. The wind in our hair, flowing everywhere.
You look at me and somehow know—how truly deeply we know—nothing will get in our way,
and everything will be okay.

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