When I was twelve years old, I had a conversation with my mom that I’ll never forget. I was being my perfectionist self, trying to put together a flawless assignment for school. Somewhere in the middle of the poster board, I ruined it. I was completely disgusted with myself. Dad lifted his glasses, squinted, and I knew that the error looked as big to him as it did to me. After all, my perfectionist tendencies had been inherited from him.
I remember beating myself up about it for awhile. Dad, in keeping with his logical and pragmatic nature, spent some time analyzing ways I could draw lines and shapes around the error to make it less obvious. We both obsessed about it ad nauseam. After about an hour, mom walked in. She had clearly been listening from upstairs. She made us stop what we were doing, looked me in the eyes, and said, “Mistakes happen. That’s why they made erasers.”
“But I can’t erase it! It’s permanent marker!” I replied.
“Then we’ll figure out a way to make it work. Or we won’t and you’ll start over, this time in pencil. Either way, so what? Is it worth the hour you just spent torturing yourself over a poster board?”
Mom had a way of accepting mistakes, of understanding that our humanity made us imperfect, and that it was okay. In fact, she knew that those imperfections made us more interesting, made us into people others could learn from and teach to. It was a lesson I’d never forget.
Of course there were others.
She taught me why it’s important to have empathy, to walk in someone else’s shoes before you comment on their life.
She taught me that life is full of hard decisions. Sometimes you’ll make good choices; sometimes you’ll make bad ones. But you’ll learn something great from them all.
She taught me that good friendship and true love can only find you if you’re open to them.
She taught me to be unafraid to reach for the stars. You may only get close, but the journey will be unforgettable.
She taught me not to settle for content when you could be mind-blowingly happy.
She taught me to watch movies that make you smile and to be grateful for the people who make you laugh.
I could go on and on.
The truth is that I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. I feel ridiculously blessed to know that she’ll love me no matter what happens today or tomorrow, that she’ll support me even if she doesn’t always agree with my choices, and that she’ll never stop reminding me that life’s too short to care about the silly mistakes that remind us we’re all still human.
My mother is the best woman I know. She gives me honesty when I need it most. There’s nothing in this world I’m afraid to tell her. And I am eternally grateful for everything she continues to share with me about life, love, and all the crazy stuff in between.
Happy Mother’s Day, mom. I love you.
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