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I thought about my mother yesterday, because yesterday was Mothers’ Day, but also because I think about my mother every day.
I think about her when I make my coffee in the morning, and of how I like drip coffee better than just about any other kind, because it reminds me of our kitchen and of her warmth.
I think about her when I cook dinner—of how she is both surprised and not surprised that I have finally agreed to domesticate myself, and of how the only things that I can cook are recipes (grilled chicken is a recipe, right?) she taught me. And I think of how much better her cooking is. Of the love and time she puts into every meal.
I think of her when I (wisely) decide to have beer and only beer on a night out (there is a card from her hanging above my desk telling me to do so).
I think of her when I write. Of the times she looked over things that I had written and told me to cut out things like “thus” and “aforementioned.” I think of how she was right.
I think of her when my sister and I Skype and have conversations independent of our parents. I think of how, when our relationship was so bad and I thought that we would never get along, by mother promised that one day we would.
Mostly, though, I think of her in the moments when I am proudest of myself. When I am kind. When I am decent. When I am well-spoken. When I listen well. When I am driven. When I give respect to others and ask for their respect in return and when, on their failure to deliver, I take it for myself.
And it is out of that respect—and appreciation, and thankfulness, and joy, and, above all, love—that I wish her a Very Happy Mothers’ Day. I wish I could have been there to celebrate with her. But I hope she knows that I was thinking of her yesterday, and all other days before, and all other days to come.
This is schmaltzy and saccharine and dumb, but here it is:
My mother (who is freakishly adept at social media platforms) just changed her Facebook profile picture such that it is now one of her and my father, together. It’s them sitting in front of a fountain (in Europe?) somewhere, but you can’t really see the fountain. You just see them. And either my brother or my sister or I must have taken it. And they are staring straight at the camera, and she is smiling—earnestly, honestly, smiling—and he is not, but he is looking at the camera in such a way that those who know him—like, say, me—can tell that he actually is.
And I just look at this picture and think, no matter what else I have been or am or will be in this life, I am the daughter of these two people who have tried to do right by my siblings and me, yes, but also by each other, and, for that matter, by the world at large. And that, as twisted and bizarre as it is, I’m proud of them. Of who they are. Of who I’ve seen them become over my lifetime. And that, sometimes, that simple fact—that I am the daughter of these two quietly exceptional people—is enough.
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