Now that I'm a mom, I realize that that "being there" meant not being somewhere else. She loved me when I wasn't very lovable (read - from age 12 to 17). She taught me about life, not in long lectures and sermons, but in letting me observe her doing life. She taught me I could be/do anything I set my mind to.
She taught me calculus and physics.
She taught me how to portage a canoe, and that I can continue to portage canoes on into my 70's.
She taught me how to laugh at life.
And she taught me how to love.