My mom left this morning after a three week whirlwind through Spain, France and Italy. Three weeks. I’m pretty sure it’s the most time we've spent alone together, ever. In the last few years, my mom and I have come to know each other on a much more personal level, finally letting go of some of the old patterns that tripped us up from time-to-time in the past. I’ve discovered she’s an incredibly warm, generous, vibrant, fun-loving and open-minded woman who gets more excited about life the more she lives it. This trip only deepened that understanding.

We did four cities in three weekends – a lavish early birthday present of 5-star hotels, personal tours, great food and mornings spent drinking coffee and eating yogurt with fresh figs while we surfed the web on the couch together. If she had given me the trip to take on my own, it would have been a truly remarkable gift. Taking it with her turned out to be an entirely separate gift all its own.

Thanks, mom, for everything. It was indeed a trip of a lifetime.