MY MOM AND HER LEGACY OF LOVE
The word “Mom” is so simple when spelled out- three letters, one syllable. But when you have a great one, the word “Mom”  holds the weight of the world. My whole life I have been so proud to be the daughter of a mother who was able to radiate kindness, joy, and compassion to everyone she met along her journey in life. As a teenager, I always found it so confusing when other kids would get embarrassed by their parents because my mom and dad have always been two of the coolest people I know, and truly my best friends. My mom, Millie, will forever be the best friend I’ve ever had. 
*my mom, me, my brother & my dad on a family beach trip
This Mother’s Day will be the second one without her here. It is important to remember that these types of holidays are different for every person. And without acknowledging the differences amongst people’s familial dynamics, you create exclusion, even if unintentional. So first let me say that everyone’s relationship with their mom is so unique. With some people, the love is unspoken and expressed by enjoying your favorite hobbies together. In others, you can’t imagine hanging up the phone without saying ‘I love you’ but maybe your hobbies and interests don’t align as much. Some don’t have a relationship with their mom, some people have two dads, some have a mom that may not be as maternal, some striving to be like the “cool mom” (forever laughing at Amy Poehler in Mean Girls with the camcorder) – I can’t speak to each different type of dynamic, obviously, but my heart is with all of you this Mother’s Day, no matter what your holiday may look like.
 
My mom passed away in 2020 after a sudden cancer diagnosis. Although she isn’t here physically anymore, I can constantly feel her in my heart. The reach of her kindness, joy, and love spreads far and wide across so many people’s lives and does not stop at me, my brother, and my dad. It is such an honor to write about my mom and the legacy of love that she’s left behind. I hope her kindness and warmth radiates through these words and photos so that you can feel even just an ounce of the legacy of love that I call Mom.
Our mom was our number one supporter and advocate. She never missed a basketball game, a play, a parent/teacher conference, or any sort of celebration of her kids. She never missed an opportunity to tell us how proud she was of us, or to tell us that she loved us. I am so lucky that I get to share this privilege with my brother, because it is nearly impossible to describe how it feels to be raised by two of the most loving parents in the entire world. She and our dad have shown us what love looks like. How important it is to laugh. And how a home should be defined by how much love is inside and how you treat each other.
My mom was a very social person and made friends everywhere she went. If someone was struggling, she did everything she could to help them out. When someone was different, she didn’t simply tolerate their difference, or even just accept it - she embraced and celebrated it.  I was 17 when I came out to my mom. I was so nervous to tell her, worried how she would react. Without hesitation, she immediately told me that she loved me. Then she hugged me. And sitting on my bed together in 2007 looked at me and said “my love for you will never change. Nothing could change that.” Fast forward 13 years later, my mom was so excited to show me her new Pride shirt that she got from a FB ad. It had a rainbow flag and says 'we the people means everyone'. I loved it so much that I insisted on a picture, so she picked up Kirby (our sweet family dog!) and posed for one of my favorite pictures of all time (below).
My mom was never hesitant to befriend the person who was a little bit different. She always stood up for the person who maybe didn’t have as loud of a voice. I remember in elementary school one day I told her about some girls bullying another girl, and she told me to always stick up for the person who may not have the confidence to stick up for themselves. And that it was never okay to let someone sit alone at lunch.
The reason I’m telling you about my mom is not only to talk about my favorite person, but also as an attempt to continue to spread the kindness and joy that defined my mother. The world is tough, life is not always easy. 
 I encourage you to: 
Allow yourself the space and time to press pause on your busy day
Befriend someone that you normally wouldn’t.
Call your mom- ask her how her day is going.
Buy her that bracelet she’s been eyeing.
Travel together.
Take her to a Broadway show or a baseball game. 
Play a board game while listening to your parents’ favorite music. 
I can assure you that these simple moments are the ones you will remember forever. The little moments shared at home with your family are the big moments that will forever live in your heart, no matter where your family members are.
My heart is with all of you this Mother’s Day, no matter what your day will look and feel like. Whether you will be in person celebrating with your mom, sending her a text from across the country, or celebrating her life by watching her favorite movies (Wizard of Oz & Sound of Music, coming up!)- I hope your Mother’s Day is filled with joy, laughter, and the feeling of home. 
“When you're down and troubled
And you need some lovin' care
And nothin', nothin' is goin' right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night
You just call out my name
And you know, wherever I am
I'll come runnin'
To see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend”
-Carole King

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