Today is my Mom's birthday. She's out of town but I have spoken to her and sung Happy Birthday and, as usual, shared some laughs.
I probably wouldn't be a writer if it weren't for my Mom. However, unlike writers of a certain sort, that isn't because my Mom was a harpy and lousy parent. Nope, she was and is a fabulous mother. And I've thought about how she contributed to my success as a writer. Here are some of the ways:
When I was little, if anybody upset me at school or elsewhere, part of the "chinwag" afterward would involve this question: "Why do you think they did or said that?"
So because of her, I've been thinking about people's motivations -- looking beyond the actions to the emotional reasons for the why of it -- since I was a child.
My Mom never, ever told me to go outside and play if I was reading. Reading was a-ok with her. I shudder to think how much she spent, while on a tight budget, for Trixie Belden books.
My Mom didn't flinch when I wanted to get a (somewhat impractical) BA in English Lit. My Mom didn't get to go to university, although she certainly had the smarts. My Grandpa thought it was a waste of money for a woman. Instead of being like some parents I've heard of, who take the attitude, "I didn't get that, so neither will you," she had the opposite reaction. You want to go to university? Fantastic! You want to take English Lit? Wonderful!
She is still fantastically supportive. As my sister put it when my mother was seriously ill (now thankfully recovered), "She always makes you feel as if you're doing the right thing." This is a rare and wondrous gift, as I've come to learn over the years.
She can find the humor in those minor frustrations we all experience from time to time, so we generally wind up laughing about them.
She was a fantastic parental role model, and I can only hope I've lived up to the example she set. One of the greatest compliments people can pay me is to say I'm like her.
So Happy Birthday, Mom, and many, many more!