Today is my mother's birthday. Helen Elizabeth Janney (later Sterrett) grew up in Muncie, Indiana - later documented by sociologists as Middletown, USA. She wanted to be a scientist, and worked as a chemist in WW II. Eventually she earned a degree in botany and later a master's degree in library science. A lover of music as well as of science, her last work was in the music library of the University of Illinois.
How can I count her gifts to me? She gave me a stable, orderly childhood no matter how the family was buffeted and torn. She showed me how to love music, wisely choosing the exact classical music and opera to attract the heart of a child. She gave me my love of plants - genetically I'm sure, as well as by example. She taught me to love reading and books. Later in life, she showed me how to enjoy life no matter how its limits might increase.
I'm sure there's more. Like most of us, I perceive her gifts to me more and more as I grow older myself. And of course there's that one gift that we all know is most important of all. She loved me. She showed it in action. She told me in words. The greatest gift of all.