I have to present one last award, The Greatest Mom Award, in response to the two from my post on Wednesday. My mom read the post and sent me an email that just about brought me to tears. In addition to some wonderfully mushy stuff at the beginning of her email, she said this :
I find YOU inspirational in so many ways, but I disagree with one of your answers. I think you got it all wrong when you answered “What are you not?” with the word “courageous”. You ARE brave in a million ways. Every time you get on a plane…When you said “I do” at your wedding…when you made any of the choices you’ve made to become the best person you can be…all of those took courage. Courage isn’t just the big, save-someone’s-life kind of actions. It’s a lot of little everyday decisions too. Every day you’re making the choice to be a caring, honest and honorable person. So ease up on yourself, sweet pea. Stay the wonderful woman you are and you’ll never have to fear being a failure. You will have succeeded in the only way that really matters – you will have loved and been loved.
First of all, her email reminded me of why I love to write and to read. Her words are so beautiful and her message so important. Growing up, my mom was the literary influence in my life. My dad was the great musical influence. After a long day at work, my dad would come home for dinner with us before having to dash out to a rehearsal or to play a concert. And on nights he could be home, he’d wait until we were snug in our beds before going out to the laundry room to practice clarinet. I remember sneaking out of bed and sitting at the top of the stairs to listen to his warmups more times than I can count. There was something so comforting about the scale repetitions and transpositions – always the same, always lovely. Someday, I’m hoping he’ll give me a recording of a practice session so I can play it on repeat when my own children can’t sleep. I want them to grow up hearing his musical art as often as I did. And I loko forward to quietly playing my own lullabyes on the piano to continue the legacy.
As I mentioned before, my mom was the literary influence. A lover of all languages (she majored in French Literature, I believe?), she taught us to read and appreciate words and to understand her passion for them. I spent many summers in Providence (under the guidance of my granny, who’d been a grade school teacher) tearing through pile after pile of libary books, anxious to go back for the next batch as soon as possible. I devoured entire series – first, Brambly Hedge, then Roald Dahl, Louisa May Alcott, Nancy Drew and beyond. Hardcovers, paperbacks, novellas, epic tomes, historical fiction or mystery. Didn’t matter, I wanted to read all of them. I squeezed every last drop of enjoyment out of the pages of those books. I loved the thrill of the words rushing through my head, whirring and spinning as they shaped images in my mind and made their stories come to life. I loved the smell of the pages, knowing the books themselves had stories untold by the words printed in ink. I loved the peace of the library, a place devoted to the words I cherished. And now, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I find so much comfort in reading. It often doesn’t even matter what kind of book I’m reading. Just the act of going back to something so familiar to me conjures up the calm I’ve been missing, much like my father’s music.
And, as you can see above, my mother’s passion for words has made her a wonderful writer as well. Not just a “professional appreciater”, she writes almost daily in a journal (perhaps why I so enjoy my blog?) and I treasure her beautiful words of wisdom. Thank you, Mom, for your encouragement in all things past and present. I love you!
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