Here's a partial list of things my mom did right. Happy Mother's Day Mom! I love you.
1. She encouraged me to be myself, not to be a conformist, but to be comfortable with who I am, and not to worry about what other people think.
2. She allowed me to argue my case when I thought she was being unfair or when I thought I was misunderstood. She listened to my points, and when it was appropriate, gave my words credibility. I could say anything I needed to, as long as I was respectful. I try to emulate this with my own children, because I think it values fairness while acknowledging that the parent is in charge, ultimately. It has also given me a great skill with which to work things out with my wife.
3. She sent me to camp in the summers. I went to Camp Lone Star for four or five years, and to boy scout camp. As I look back on my childhood, my times at camp stand out as mountaintop experiences. I think they taught me independence and a measure of responsibility.
4. She knew my friends, attended my school functions, and listened to everything I said (or at least convincingly pretended to listen!). She made me feel important. Ha! She still reads my blog every day!
5. She taught me to value music. In later life, this has bled over into other areas. I have an appreciation for photography, for art, for dance, and for creativity in general. It has made my life richer. I think I can trace this appreciation back to days listening to Simon and Garfunkel albums, or Johnny Cash, or Tchaikovsky.
6. Speaking of richer, Mom taught me that money doesn't make you happy. She taught me that relationships were ultimately the most important thing we have on earth.
Thanks for being a great mom, Mom. I love you.