September 24th would have been Mom's 74th birthday.
Mom's birthday was always the "anchor birthday" for our fall birthday extravaganza. Jessica's birthday is on September 15th, just a little more than a week before Mom's; Susan's birthday is October 1st, a week after Mom's. So we usually used Mom's birthday as the centerpiece of the celebratory period, with everyone getting together to celebrate all the birthdays at one time.
Some people are hard to find gifts for, but for some reason I never had trouble finding gifts for Mom. I guess it's possible that I had a more difficult time than I realized--perhaps I got gifts she didn't particularly care for--but if she was unhappy with the gifts, she never said anything about it. Mom always seemed thrilled with the family gathering, and she always said, "You didn't have to get me anything," but of course we always did, because we wanted to. Finding the right gift is always part of the fun of gift-giving, and I grew up surrounded by Mom's tastes, so I always felt attuned to her likes and interests.
The only gift I can offer her tonight is my undying love and appreciation, and my assurance that everything she tried to instill in us has not been forgotten. I can give her my word that our family remains as close today as it was when she was alive, and I can promise her that she and Dad are always in our hearts and minds. And I can remember all those wonderful birthdays and smile... and wish that we had many more to share.
Happy birthday, Mom!