Here's a copy of the column I sent in for tomorrow's paper. I hope she likes it.
When she’s in a certain mood, my mother will tell you that I never listen to her. She’ll say this with exasperated affection and then shrug her shoulders because seriously now--what are you gonna do with a daughter like that?
Anyway, this amazing woman to whom I never ever listen is having herself a birthday tomorrow. A milestone birthday (although I won’t tell you which milestone), so I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve learned by NOT LISTENING to my mother over the years. Here goes.
Get a dog. Sure, you can live without one, but where’s the fun in that?
In fact, get a poodle. And then spoil him rotten.
Take up knitting. It’s great therapy.
Advocate for children. Advocate for people who can’t do it for themselves.
Root for the underdog. Unless, of course, your team is playing the underdog.
Remember that loyalty is the supreme virtue, while recognizing that loyalty can turn you stupid at times.
Make casseroles and take them in when neighbors are sick.
Never forget that while men are good with the text, you can’t count on them to get the subtext.
When in need of an excuse, feel free to chalk it up to hormones.
End each meal—even breakfast—with a bite of chocolate.
Be a parent to your young children. Be a friend to your adult children.
Reside in the present moment. The past is overrated anyway.
On the other hand, you should write a personal history as a way to honor your roots.
Love your in-laws.
Keep putting up a Christmas tree, even after the kids leave.
Don’t hesitate to take on a wealthy corporation if you think that wealthy corporation is busy polluting your backyard. Or state.
Open the doors of your life and make room there for people who aren’t like you.
Take care of your friends.
Keep your partner guessing.
Throw a well-timed fit now and then just to get people’s attention.
Respect Wyoming and the fearsome mighty women who hail from there.
Go back to college and graduate if you feel like it. Even if you’re in your sixties and other people tell you not to bother.
Let the dishes wait.
Never be without a book or two. Or three. Or twenty.
Learn how to text your grandchildren.
Remember that while clothes come and go, jewelry is forever.
Take a brisk walk every morning of your life.
Take the poodle with you, even if he protests.
Worry about your kids, no matter how old they are.
Grow houseplants, because houseplants help a person survive the winter months.
Invest in a good haircut. A good haircut won’t solve your problems, but at least you can earn style points while dealing with them.
Laugh. And then laugh some more. Especially at yourself.
Well, I could go on and on. But I think I’ve made my point. I’ve been listening, even if I don’t always follow my mother’s advice—although I’d probably be a better person if I did.
Thanks, Mom. Happy birthday.