My mother is a special lady. She’s special to me, her son, the rest of my siblings, and to her grandchildren. She’s, in a large way, responsible for who I am today, although I’m not always sure who that is. She might be responsible for that as well.
My mother, throughout my childhood, was my greatest booster. For her, all of my ideas were good ones. I can’t remember a single critical word about my thoughts, dreams, plans. Sometimes they were met with an “ohhhh”, but in the excitement of the telling, I never really realized that she was not on my side.
We spent a lot of time driving places together. She drove me to organ lessons (which later morphed to the piano) and sat in the car, out on main street, while Elmer U tried to get my fingers to go to the right notes for the right amount of time. She drove me to public speaking competitions (sort of a nerdy thing to do in those days) and sat through the painful repetition of the same three to five minutes of text. During those drives, when it was just the two of us, she listened.
I think that, along with all of the other mom things that she did well, was the key to her influence in my life. She listened to me, gave her advice from time to time, as if we were peers. She made me feel important and valued. She made it seem that I could do anything, and that I didn’t need to follow her path, or my dad’s, or anyone else’s. I was my own person.
She’s still like that. I think she’s often surprised by the things that I have ended up doing, but, she needs to know that those things are likely her fault, because she never put the brakes on earlier.