Today is my mom’s birthday. I could write a incredibly moving blog post about what my mother means to me. But that just wouldn’t be us. See, my mother has an advanced degree in sarcasm. I learned at the feet of a master. And to tarnish that with too much sentimentality would be the opposite of a true birthday post for my mom. So instead, I offer a random list of things I’ve learned from my mother:
- When something is lost, pray to St. Anthony. And keep praying. Because eventually it will turn up.
- Always have the ingredients handy to make a salt map along with an array of food coloring. (Personal aside: There should be more salt map making, not just in school, but generally in life.)
- Traditions are important. Even if the tradition is just to talk about the tradition which has mercifully died out. I’d much rather hear stories about how my mom got her Toni home perm on Miss America night every year than having to experience it first hand.
- Speaking of hair, I wonder if my mother knew there was a human head attached to the hair she forcefully combed into a ponytail (pig tails on gym days) every morning of elementary school.
- Random acts of kindness come from your heart and need no recognition. That’s what gives them power and meaning.
- Read. Read. And oh yeah, read some more.
- How a team plays together, and how a coach behaves on the sidelines, is ultimately more important than individual talent. Heart, passion and respect create success.
- West Coast college basketball is underrated.
- The two most important things: boxing out and squaring your shoulders to the basket.
- It is OK to cheer on press row when officials make a three-second call. Or call carrying. Because it never happens.
- Stubbornness isn’t always a bad thing and can be lethal when paired with a healthy does of righteous indignation.
- Never leave the house without snacks.
- Always cheer for the last person out of the water. Because they worked just as hard as everyone else.
I am certain that my mother didn’t agree with many of my life decisions. I am certain there are times when I baffled her, frustrated her, disappointed her. But because of her, I was able to become a writer. Because of her, I never thought it was odd to be a girl who could recite the entire Sabres lineup in junior high. Because of her, I learned how to travel, both literally and figuratively. I learned that what’s worse than failing is uttering the phrase, “I wanted to, but …”
Happy Birthday Mom.