Today is Mother's Day and it has long been a bittersweet day. On the one hand, I have been able to celebrate being a mom every year for the last 21 years. On the other hand, my relationship with my own mother had always been tenuous and Mother's Day always just sort of stung a little.

When I became a mother, all I wanted was to be a good mom. The love I felt for my daughter, Elizabeth was immediate and strong. As the child of years of emotional and mental abuse and neglect, I never wanted her to ever feel the way my own mother had so often made me feel but all I knew of being a mom was only what not to do.

Fortunately, despite the relationship, or lack thereof, with my own mother, I've been blessed that the Universe has seen fit to always provide me with strong, female figures in my life to help lead, guide, and inspire me - and even at times, push me to do and be better. From a very young age, there have been these women. My grandmothers. My Aunts, Linda, Louise, and Marilyn. My older cousins with their children.

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And then there have been the strangers who became my family and friends; women who have loved me unconditionally, even when I could not love myself and who have, through their own actions and deeds shown me with their own children what it means to be a good mother. It is these women, all of these women, who have shaped me into the woman and mother that I am.

It's because of these women that I have the privilege to be the kind of mother that a 21-year-old woman drives hours to see on Mother's Day because time with her mom is an important priority to her. I get to be the kind of mother that she calls when she has good news to share or when she's having a rough day because talking to her mom just always seems to help. And to those women, if you're reading this - thank you. You have given me the greatest gift this Mother's Day and every day. Thank you for helping me become the mom I always wanted to be. And to my own daughter, you have changed my life in innumerable ways and I am forever grateful the Universe gave me you. I love you, Kid. 🖤

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.


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