Saturday, July 19, 2008

John’s tribute to Mimi

"In the past few days, I have reminisced with many of you about Mimi, and I have been reminded of what a different sort of lady my mother was. And so I would like to share with you what a different sort of mother this lady was.

Mimi never really told me what to do; rather, she taught me how to live. She never really gave me advice; rather, she showed me where to find wisdom.

When I was 10 and returning to the neighborhood covered in mud from a long day of playing in the woods, my friends would talk of the scolding they expected from their mothers about their clothes. I marched on, smiling in silence, happy that my mother had taught me how to do my own laundry when I was eight.

When I was 12 and playing little league, she didn't follow my batting average, but at home she did all she could to make sure I knew the value of fair play. Not many mothers would stay up with their children until one or two in the morning, discussing the worth of the individual, the value of respect, and the hard choices a boy can face on the field or in life. But Mom did. I always played as though she were in the stands, and I always will.

When I was 22 and graduating from college, she never told me what she thought I should do with my life. But after spending my boyhood watching how she approached a challenge, how she viewed adventure, how she saw the world, I didn't need to ask.

She was never one for the long mushy birthday card. They were funny, and usually on time. I think she was always trying to find a better way to love the people in her life, never more so than in how she loved Dad more and more as years went on.

Mom had a love for sayings and quotations, a love which she instilled in me and later in my daughter Elizabeth. When I turned 30, she gave me a notebook filled with many of her favorite sayings, written in her own hand. Good, practical sayings, like:

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much." And:

If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything, and

"Every job is the self portrait of the one who did it", which I would paraphrase today to say: "Every life is the self portrait of the one who lived it." And, Mom, yours was a masterpiece, with just one corner of the canvas yet to be beautified by your brush.

Thanks, Mom, for the painting lessons.

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