15 Things My Mom Doesn’t Realize She Taught Me
I never, ever, leave home without sunglasses. Not in any season or weather. It makes driving easier in vehicles with older windshields that have bad glare at night or in the rain. Also, who wants to squint? Also, they look cool.
2 . Sunscreen and Makeup
My mom is in her sixties and has less wrinkles than farmers around here in their 30s. Bam.
3. Always Carry a Book
I can’t picture my mother without a book. Her bedside had a stack of biographies, novels, history and politic and religion books by it. Now I judge people who don’t read in their spare time. She does too. (She also thinks coloring books for adults are stupid.) I am sure that the reason I became a writer was for her approval. Books mattered in a holy way to her.
4. Wonder Women
My mom adored Jackie O, and Mrs. Kennedy's image was more recognizable to me as a seven year old than most of my cousins.We had books about her, visited shows about her at museums, the house had collector plates and photographs. Growing up Catholic in the 60’s, Jackie was it. I have a fond place for her in my heart. Anna Kendrick is my Jackie O. I get it. But Anna can't ride a horse. Yet.
Always, always, always vote.
6. Science Can Only Bring you Closer to God.
We were always encouraged to understand the history, science, and reality of the world around us and it was never to conflict with religion. God was never presented as a character, but something bigger and more complicated. I’ll never forget asking about evolution vs creationism as a kid and my mom telling me in a flippant tone, “Of course God created evolution. You’re a Woginrich. Think.”
7. Fashion is Art
Fashion isn’t about vanity, it’s our cultural history. It is art. It is worth paying attention to. Took me 30 years to embrace that. Now I devour Vogue as much as I devour any farm lit. I will name a horse Wintour, just wait.
8. Seafood is (Mostly) Gross.
We ate things with 2 or 4 legs growing up. Her father was a butcher. She did have shrimp at parties and occasionally ate tuna salad, but that is it. Seafood is bug meat to me.
She was the first female Political Science major at her college. The same college I graduated from a few decades later. She took on a whole new career in education when her kids grew up and taught for years. This is tough stuff, and part of why I feel I can do this crazy farm thing.
As a child we’d take a lot of trips from our small town in PA to NYC. We’d walk 5th avenue, take in art museums, see Broadway shows. We did a lot of family vacations to the shore or even Disney, but trips to NY just to soak it all in was my favorite. My love of art, animation, and comedy was so encouraged by this. In college I’d take the bus into the city all the time, just to see Demetri Martin do a one man show at UCB. I'm a proud New Yorker now, and that city is part of that pride.
My mom loves to swim, and we all grew up learning to swim soon as it was legal in our local pool association. I hated those 8AM swimming lessons then but now all my summer days are spent in lakes and rivers and feeling safe in deeper water and loving my time there is a real gift.
12. Starship Troopers is a Modern Classic
This is a movie that my mom loves. She’s got a thing for giant bug movies. I bet she’d beat any giant bug in a swimming race.
13. Present Yourself Better
If her house was on fire, her eyeliner would be set. I’m not that extreme but my mom is the reason you will never see me in public in pjs, slippers, ugg boots, or sweatpants. When you are out in the world, try. It shows respect for yourself and others. Plus, you feel better.
She might not think I care about family traditions since I live far away and our views on many topics are polar opposites - but the heart of carrying on traditions that respect and honor your past, ancestors, family history, and story matter more to me than anything.
15. GO FIGHTING IRISH!
There is no other college football team. This is not up for debate.
[Happy Mother's Day, PYW]