I spent this past week with my family. A few days into our time together at my sister, Melanie’s house in Massachusetts, my niece, Abby, my daughter, Kenzie, and I were discussing how my mom, their Grandma Sharon, has very few filters. Pretty much anything that occurs to her is fair game for a conversation with people she knows well, or, not.
Before I go any farther, I need to convey how completely awesome my mom really is. She has spent her entire life nurturing her husband, children, grand-children, and her home. After my dad died five years ago, she unreservedly embraced the opportunity to spread her wings and explore the world on her own terms. She has opened her mind and heart to many things that she was previously, completely opposed too. We (my three siblings and her four adult grandchildren) are all incredibly proud of her and we love her dearly.
All that love and admiration, however, does not always erase the moments when we are in public that we want to walk in the opposite direction and pretend we don’t know her. She is the woman who will talk to anyone, about anything - you know - the ultra-friendly one with the halo of gorgeous white curls and trademark smile on her face.
While traveling back home with her yesterday, we stopped at the Saranac Lake Aldi’s so she could pick up a few items to get through the next few days until she could get into town. Out of the blue, it hit me squarely upside the head, as I walked into the McDonalds bathroom, how utterly stupid my embarrassed response to her beautifully open spirit really is.
Over her entire lifetime, she has done exactly what I encourage my students to do every day. Mom is, and, has always been unapologetically her own person. Why on earth should I be embarrassed by her strength, perseverance, generosity, silliness, and joyous attitude? She owns all of it - her successes and her failures and she will not shy away from a challenge, if anything, she charges into them head first. She loves her family unreservedly and will do anything for us. My mom is who I inherited my stubbornness (and, my early grey hair) from and who taught me compassion, responsibility, and independence. I am fortunate to still have her, and, yes, I am forever grateful for all she is.
The moral of this story - don’t let your inhibitions influence (rule) your response to those you love. Celebrate and honor all the quirks, eccentricities, and nuttiness, including your own.
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