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(by Amy Fischer Smith)

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.” Wendy Morgan

I didn’t always listen to my mother growing up, but I sure as hell listen to everything she tells me now that she’s dead. In the two years that she’s been gone, she’s taught me that life is brief, so make the most of it; be grateful for family and friends; the bond between mother and daughter is eternal; and with help from a toddler, I can survive the most life-altering loss I’ve experienced in my 32 years.

While most moms advise their daughters to pursue a particular career or date a doctor instead of a truck driver, my mother focused her efforts on leisure recommendations. She all but planned my honeymoon in France and Italy, and came up with elaborate party ideas like a birthday celebration for my dog Lance with the theme of Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table. My mom was full of great ideas for having fun, and was always thrilled when I liked one of them and ran with it.