Important things I’ve learned from my mother:
- How to build a snow luge track and an igloo in the backyard in winter
- Eating the cookie dough instead of baking cookies is OK as long as you bake at least one cookie
- How to make a globe out of a paper mache balloon
- When you go to the casino, play penny slots, because the odds are horrible but damn, pulling that lever is fun
- No Halloween costume is impossible to make or a bad idea. Evidence my brother and my homemade Halloween costume collection in the basement, including but not limited to: a Jellicle cat, a AAA battery, a frog, Koopa Troopa, a bag of jelly beans, a shark, a crash test dummy
- Odd phrases from children’s books repeated ad nauseum from childhood on into adulthood such as “It’s OK Mokie, I’ll protect you,” and “Everyone makes mistakes, even Big Bird”
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Katie, you’ve gained so many normal, useful, transferable skills from your mother! How wonderful!
And you would be right. I have an eccentrically high level of self-confidence and creativity due to the sense of endless possibility of invention borne from Halloween costumes and snow sports. I am wildly and happily indulgent in simple pleasures like eating all the cookie dough and taking two hours to gamble away two dollars on penny slots. I really like making maps, and that started and was fostered rather early on in my childhood, it seems. And the phrase “Even Big Bird makes mistakes,” while comically overused in my childhood household vocabulary, bears an important message that I actually do think I’ve retained on some deeper level. It’s OK to mess up because even the coolest yellow bird on TV sometimes screws up too. That’s important.
Thank you, mother, for all of these lessons and countless others. I respect you because you taught me to walk, but you didn’t teach me to follow in someone else’s footsteps. You have always blazed your own trail, and I am afraid my fierce desire to be myself in fact comes directly from you. Thank you, I love you.