Emily & Mom circa 1984--little Emily is the spitting image of Henry!!
"Your mom is a saint," people very often say to me and my siblings. What they mean is to honor the attributes we all admire about her: complete selflessness, humility, and unending patience. My mom's virtues stand out so strongly, mainly because she doesn't realize these things as choices--it is just who she is through and through.
Most of the things I like about myself and keenly notice in others, I learned from my mom:
• Welcome everyone/anyone into your home. Offer tea and something home baked (which, of course, you always have on hand.)
• How to plan for a party for four or forty. My mom can throw a party together with her eyes closed!
• How to be a good listener. Exercise that patience and selflessness, especially when someone needs your help.
• How to can tomatoes. More, how to grow them first, then can them, and use them later as sauce for a lasagna to feed an army.
• How to travel and enjoy new places. The first time I saw my parents as "real" people was in college, while traveling abroad together. My parents showed me how to enjoy a late-night cappuccino in Paris, how to make friends with strangers on a tour to Africa, how to gamble (!) and how to enjoy a mid-day cocktail in the hot Spanish sun. I remember thinking, "Wow, my mom is really fun!"
• Motherhood, with all of its hardships and joys, is a gift.
Mom and Dad, 1976 (above), below Mom in Hawaii, 2002
One time, I was in the car with a friend who was bragging about what her mom did for a living. I do not remember at all what she was saying, but in defense of my own stay-at-home mom, I blurted out: "Well MY MOM makes FOOD." It has become family legend, that yes indeed, my mom makes food. We led a nomadic existence when I was a kid, and my mother was always the backbone of the family. She raised us to be independent, smart, considerate and healthy. Here are some lessons I have kept with me, and hope to instill in my kids, from my mom:
• How to eat healthy, and cut fat in recipes. Our dessert growing up was usually either canned pears or a tortilla with some honey on it. One time I asked my mom what it was and she said "that's a Sopaipilla." Now that I'm older and know better--it was NOT a Sopaipilla, it just wasn't terrible for us.
• Be healthy. My mom was(is) always a runner, and to this day probably has a better body than I do. I looked up to her pursuit of health--not just looking good.
• Say no. Not just to drugs and bad things--but to favors, or going out when you're tired. Never say yes to something you just don't want to do, regardless of the reasons.
• When someone shows you who they are, believe them, whether positive or negative.
• Trust in God, but lock your car.
We love you, Moms!