Five Gifts From My Mom
I've told many of you that I have met during this process the basic story of how I ended up running for Alderman. I was not planning on running for anything as I am not a crazy person desperate to get into politics. Rather, my wife saw Jerry Dalgo's announcement in the paper late on a Thursday evening that he decided, at the last minute, not to run for re-election, and he encouraged anyone who might want to take a shot to sign up immediately. The deadline to qualify was the next day, Friday, by 5:00 pm.
When my wife saw the announcement, she immediately said something along the lines of "You sure do talk a lot, why don't you put your money where your mouth is." Honestly, I was very surprised by how adamant she was that I run for the position. She has a lot of faith in me and pushes me hard. She is a good wife.
Still, I was not convinced, but I promised her I would think on it. That night I prayed for guidance, but the next morning I was still unsure.
So I called my mom!
Immediately, she told me that when she saw the announcement, she had the exact same thought as Amanda. So I drove straight to city hall and signed up.
My mother is a singular force for good in my life. She is my confidant and mentor, as she is to my brother and sister as well. And on this beautiful Mothers Day morning, I thought I would share with y'all five gifts she has given me.
1. Intellectual Independence
Because of my mom I am not afraid of new ideas. Because of my mom I am not afraid to state my opinion. Because of my mom I think with an open mind. Because of my mom I know that if I don't know something, I can learn it.
My mom is the first in her family to go to college. She is the first in her family to get a masters' degree.
She grew up in turbulent times - Jackson, MS through the civil rights movement, Vietnam and the advent of modern feminism.
And she reads. My Lord, does she read. As she says, the best interior decoration are books. Her house is covered in bookshelves. A lesson I've taken to heart.
Free thinking, intellectual rigor, and questioning are part and parcel of who she is and who she raised me and my siblings to be. To this day none of us have ever been afraid to discuss a controversial opinion with my mother as she taught us to respect other's opinions, listen to them, and reflect on them without fear because that is what she does.
She taught me to think for myself.
What my mom is best known for around our area is her work with the St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy. She has been a guiding hand for the Pharmacy since its inception and has won local and national awards for her good work.
Service for those in need is a fundamental aspect of her character. It is, literally, her vocation. Prior to marrying my father, she was a social worker, who worked primarily with the developmentally disabled.
And in her personal life, raising me, my brother and sister, I doubt any of us have ever heard her say a bad word about anyone else.
Through her we were aware of how blessed we were growing up and how that blessing came with responsibility. That it is our responsibility to help others and to look at our neighbors flaws with a skeptical eye. The struggles people face are not always immediately knowable. Therefore, we are to be kind and work with others for the betterment of everyone.
My dad has a lot of personality.
My mom is quieter. She is funny, vocal and always up for a good time, but she is a lot quieter than my dad (granted, that is not hard to be).
My mom reflects on things. She internalizes and analyzes before making decisions.
Befitting her compassion and intellectual independence, she takes time to consider and think through things in her life. She is not quick to judge, and she prefers to give people the benefit of the doubt. But she is fair in her judgments, taking in all information.
My mother is wise and fair. And that is why me, my brother and sister all turn to her for advice. She removes her own desires from the equation and always gives a fair and even opinion and clear and reasoned advice. And she has given us those same tools to make decisions in our own lives.
My mom believes in us. And we know that she tries her best to see us as we are not as who she feels we are in all the biased glow of motherly affection. She has never been afraid to tell us when we are doing something wrong or are being lazy or selfish.
Her honesty and love has made each of us confident in ourselves. She raised us to be free, vigorous thinkers and compassionate, thoughtful people. She put the work in to raise us up in to good, moral people.
Now we strive to justify her confidence in us, but we do so without fear because if our mom believes we can do it, we believe we can do it.
This is my favorite one.
My mom is the reason I love rock and roll. Growing up, she was my shepherd into the world of great music. Having lived her formative years between 1967 and 1980, rock and roll was a part of her life, and she made sure it was part of mine.
Growing up she introduced me Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Otis Redding, Earth Wind and Fire, Prince, Tina Turner, Crosby, Stills and Nash and the Allman Brothers.
At its essence, Rock and Roll is about one thing: Freedom!
I don't know if anyone else sees this in my mom, including her, but to me my mom has a strong rebellious streak.
She has fostered that in all three of her children. We are all moral, straight shooting young people, but we are not going to be told what to do. We know who we are, what we are capable of and what we stand for. No one is going to put any of us in a box.
That is the power of my mother's love.
I love my mom. I'll end with some rock lyrics that remind me of what she has done for me:
Well, well, I'm not, I'm not giving in an inch to fear
Well, you know I've promised myself this year
Well, I feel oh, like I owe it, I owe, I owe it to someone
Oh ... like I owe it to someone
Oh, yes when I get myself together
Yeah, you can find me in that sunny southern weather, yeah
I'm goin' to find a space inside a laugh, yes
Separate the wheat from some chaff
Oh, and I feel ...
Like I owe it, yeah ... to someone