Swinging a black guitar case and smiling ear to ear like Maria Von Trapp from “Sound of Music,” my mother came walking down the hallway of my high school. She had signed up for an adult education class, which ended at the same time as my basketball practice. How convenient for rides home. I remember feeling simultaneously embarrassed and proud. Before bookstores ever offered self- improvements sections, my mother was always seeking out new experiences to broaden her horizons. I grew to love hearing her sing John Denver’s “Grandma’s Feather Bead” before school (and after school, and before dinner and after dinner, and before bed … ) I really did.
Some 30 years later, I feel only pride when I think about how my mother pushed herself to try new things. I am not talking about scaling Mount Everest or jumping from airplanes. But out of five sisters, my mother was the only one to get a job in Boston right out of high school instead of staying closer to their small town. She taught herself to sew our clothes (and our dolls’ clothes), make bread, cross-country ski, arrange flowers, start a business to sell those arranged flowers and drive through the tunnels of Boston. She is savvier than a lot of people give her credit for, including herself.
I decided to launch this blog today, on Mother’s Day, because I want to be more like my mother. Over the course of the coming year I want her to teach me her skills. I want to approach life with an openness to new opportunities. Like my mother, I want to go to a restaurant, eat a delicious meal and then find a way to recreate it at home. Maybe even make it better.
My mother isn’t quite sure about this new endeavor of mine. She’s a private person. I assured her that the blog isn’t confessional in nature. I told her that this is for me, for us really, and most people won’t even read it, which is probably true. But I hope it’s not entirely true. I think we can have some fun with this.