Happy birthday Mom! You would be 71 if you were here, but you have been gone for almost 8 years now.
Mom, if you were here, I wouldn't spend time looking for a unique gift or searching for the perfect card. I did that while you were alive and when you died, you left all those things here and well, they are just things; so instead of giving, I would take.
I would take back every eye-roll, every heavy sigh, every thought that smacked of "you don't understand; things are different now." I would take back every unkind thought or word. I would take back all the times I hid when you came back from the store because I didn't want to carry in the groceries.
I would take all your thoughts and memories. I would sit down with you and ask about every minute of your life. I would fill my mind with stories of you. I would ask how you felt when you left home; how you felt when you got your first kiss; how you felt when you buried my sister. I would ask you why you wanted to be a vet and why you didn't become one. I would ask you what you feared most and what gave you the greatest joy. Why did you get along with your dad better than your mom? I would ask about the worst times in your life and how you got through them. What would you go back and change if you could? What did you dream of doing? Because, it has occurred to me that your 9:00 to 5:00 desk job was probably not your dream life.
I would listen and take everything you said and ponder it over and over in my mind and carry your words in my heart and breath them into my soul and I would be a better person because I would have a bigger part of you with me.