NUMBER FOUR: One of the greatest delights of my childhood was reading. The worlds I visited and characters I met in books were such an important part of my life, and the creativity I encountered there was a source of much happiness and excitement. I have my mom to thank for reading to me for so many nights, and introducing me to so many wonderful books, and letting me read past bedtime with a flashlight under the covers, and not forbidding me from carrying a pile of 20 library books home from the Darien library - on a weekly basis. Though she did make me pay the massive fines I accrued from that habit.
NUMBER THREE: My mom is more than just reliable, she is truly dedicated to her daughters. No matter what frustration she was facing in her own life, she never took it out on me. Regardless of her own mood, she is always proud of my accomplishments, will always listen to my woes, and offer advice about what path to take next. I feel like I can trust my mom to always be consistent, fair, and loving.
NUMBER TWO: In the town I grew up in, a career like mine would certainly not something you brag about and perhaps even a source of shame. But I have never doubted that my mom was not just supportive but also proud of my decision to peruse a career that was fulfilling, fascinating, and meaningful to me. I feel completely comfortable that no matter what sort of job I have, as long as it is something I enjoy and lets me take full advantage of my potential, my mom will always be proud and supportive.
NUMBER ONE: The single most important thread running through numbers five through two, and through many more of her remarkable traits, is the respect she has always had for her daughters as people. As I try to search through the last 26 years of memories, I can't recall a single incident in which my mom ever derided, belittled, or teased us. She never limited us by placing us into categories or labels. While on occasion her temper might wear thin with endless sibling rivalry, I can't remember an occasion in which she allowed her temper to take over and treat us unfairly. Looking back, this feat seems completely superhuman to me. When my mom talks to me, I don't think she ever thinks of me as just a daughter, or just a geek, or just a teenager, or just a fat girl. She always thinks of me as a real human being, full of complexities and thoughts of my own.
Because my mom consistently treated me with justice, it follows that I instinctively knew that she deserved justice in return. I wouldn't ever dare yell at or insult my mom, not because I'm scared to - having never even tried, I'm not even sure what the punishment would be - but because of the great respect I hold for her. Through simple example, she has taught me that no one deserves unfair and angry treatment, whether it's your pet, your daughter, or the stressed-out workers at airports.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom, from a grateful daughter!