Where do I begin with my mother? She’s been there for me every step of the way. This has always been apparent to me during the last 25+ years of my life but recent change and reflection have truly made me appreciate the amazing mother she has been to my three sisters and I for the past quarter century.
For the last two months, I have been taking regular trips home to Fair Haven, New Jersey, which is a small coastal town located about an hour and a half train ride south of New York City. This is where my sisters and I grew up, from 1996 through our high school years, before each of us embarked on our respective college journeys. With three of the four kids out of the house and the fourth, Nikki, leaving for school in the fall, my parents decided they were restless and wanted to remake their home. After spending half their lives raising four kids, three dogs and countless rodents, it was time for them to attend to their bedroom. One of the main areas of focus was increasing the size of their bedroom, which by virtue of where my room was located, meant that my room would be absorbed into their room. In simple terms, they were going to be bashing the wall down that separated our two rooms and combine the two to make a larger, more spacious master bedroom.
You might be asking what in the world has this got to do with my mother and Mother’s Day. Be patient, I’m getting there. As a result of losing my room to restless ambition, I collected, moved and sifted through all of my possessions at home, deciding what to keep, what to dispose of and what to sell in the upcoming garage sale. I found old cell phones from 2003 (that I opted to keep for posterity’s sake). Other items that caused me to pause and smile slowly were a full set of Pokémon cards, a letter to the members of a basketball league that I ran in 6th grade and Michael Jordan’s rookie card (given to me when I was 10 by a good friend, after our dog passed away).
Another item I unearthed was a Ziploc bag that included every card, letter and note I had received from friends and family since fall 2006, my freshman year at Syracuse University. After sifting through these cards for nearly an hour a few weekends ago, I found myself pausing to read every one that was adorned with my Mom’s distinctive hand-writing.
She wrote to me often in college. Outside of family updates, travel plans and news around town, she made sure to include words of advice, quotes, proverbs and even poems in her letters to me. These were meant to inspire and re-assure me, as only a mother can do. I always loved the letters she wrote that ended up being too big for the card. In order to continue writing, she would draw arrows to the back of the card and in some cases; even apply sticky notes with the remainder of the text folded into the card on sticky notes.
After nearly 8 years of letters from my mother. It’s my turn to share my mother’s words of advice and her handpicked quotes, proverbs and poems with you. I hope the selected passages below have a similar effect on you, as they have had on me over the years.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom, thanks for all you do for me and for our family!
From my mother: “Remember always make good choices and think about consequences.”
“We marvel at the power of the ocean, yet within each of us is a power and a glory beyond all the wonders of this earth.”
“Remember we love you more than you will ever realize.”
“The road you travel prepares you for the road you are meant to go down.”
“As they leave the nest, they embark on a journey that they’ll learn is forever homeward bound.”
Risks – August 2007
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing,
The person who risks nothing does nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave; they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free
- West Richmond Friends Church, Richmond, IN
“Parents hold their children’s hands a while and their hearts forever.” – Proverb
“Remember, in the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength but by perseverance.”
“Food for thought: A group of two hundred executives were asked what makes a person successful. 80% listed enthusiasm as the most important quality.”
From Mom: “Remember to always be enthusiastic at your job!”