This is a story about my Mom, Marie, whose birthday is tomorrow. I have told this story a few times this week – because it’s funny, and is such a great example of what makes my mom so special. I will tell it here – again, because it will hopefully make others chuckle…and because I think there is something we can all learn from my mom about the joy of living life to the fullest.
My mom and dad just returned from a vacation that they touted as a “Big Chill Weekend” to visit their friends from high school that they hadn’t seen in many, many years. Clearly, they were anticipating having a fun, and possibly somewhat decadent time with old friends…and that is exactly what happened.
Here is the evidence:
Mom sent these pictures to all of our family with no explanation whatsoever. I literally was sitting in my cubicle at work when I opened the email, and I may have said an expletive or two out loud when I saw these pictures for the first time. My family’s reactions were so varied – and gave me a lot to think about over the last few days. My brother wasn’t too happy that he would have to explain to his young children how and why “Nina” got “inked.” I saw the pictures and immediately called my father in disbelief to get the story – and was relieved to discover the tattoo was airbrushed…whew!! My sister – the street smart one in our bunch – figured out that it was airbrushed from the picture and was completely nonplussed. My father was and is still trying to garner support from all of us being, in his words, “a united front” in disapproval of my mother ever getting a real tattoo.
As I told this story and sent the pictures around to some friends, I realized that I was doing so with a significant amount of pride and joy for my mom. Yes – my reaction had been authentic – I was relieved she didn’t get a real tattoo. But – I would seriously not have been surprised if she had actually done it – or if she does do it sometime in the future. That is who she is – someone who takes risk, who enjoys having fun, and who frankly doesn’t care all that much about what people think. She is the kind of person who will jump in the water with her clothes on…or will jump in her outdoor hot tub without them (both of these things have definitely happened). Do I want to erase that mental picture from the hot tub?? Maybe. Do I want to erase that memory and the hilarious story that ensued – absolutely not!! My mom is often unfiltered and uninhibited – speaking and acting from the heart.
I have learned so much from my mom about taking risks, about being true to who you are, about being passionate and joyful in the moment. When I tell these funny stories to my friends, I always say that I hope that I am the kind of person who would do the same things at her age. I hope that I take risks, that I am true to who I am, that I jump in the water and enjoy the moment now and at any age the way that she does.
Happy Birthday Mom!