I'm adding one final smaller post. I know she doesn't read this because she doesn't usually go on the Internet, but today is my mom's birthday, and I'd just like to share with the world what an awesome individual she is. She's currently hobbling around with a sprained ankle, taking care of my father and his herniated disc, and my sister and her mono. Despite the fact that everyone except my brother is or recently has been injured or ill (I just got over the flu, remember), she is still charmingly cheerful and wonderfully supportive.
Mom, I know we've had our differences over the years, but I just want you - and the whole Internet - to know that I love you, and you're great. I'm glad and proud to be your daughter.