This week has been an eventful one, to say the least--ending my season a little early with a foot injury (not serious; and more on that in a future post), and subsequently chopping all of my hair off for summertime (again, more on that later)--but this post is not about me, or where I work, or Copenhagen. Tomorrow is my mom's birthday, and this is for her :)
My mother is fabulous. A Brooklyn prosecutor-turned-USTA certified tennis coach, she raised my four younger siblings and me, along with my dad, with biting wit, a strong sense of morals, and the willingness to let us pursue our individual dreams. Not one to sugarcoat anything, I learned the value of honesty from my mom. She taught us to stick by our beliefs, no matter what everyone else was doing ("If everyone was jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it? No. That's a stupid reason."). I also learned the simple pleasure of finishing a crossword puzzle; and that the only way to get any good at doing them is to plug on, daily. (Also, NEVER do the crossword in pen, especially if you're a beginner.) Thanks to my mom, I know the cheesy joy of belting out Jimmy Buffett's "Cheeseburger in Paradise", that classic ode to the hamburger. She fostered my love of reading by making it part of our daily routines growing up, and she later fostered my love of especially bad reality television (hello, Bridezilla marathons on Oxygen). My mom introduced me to Audrey Hepburn when I was very young, and as a result is directly responsible for my continued lifelong admiration of the late, great film star. Growing up, we learned very early on that until we learned to drive ourselves, if Mom was behind the wheel, she controlled the radio. Thus I grew up to the dulcet tones of Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, and The Doors. (Far too young, my siblings and I all loved "Peace Frog," and would sing along as Jim Morrison crooned, "Bleeding ghosts crowd the young child's fragile eggshell mind." In return, we introduced her to Lady Gaga.) My mother was, thankfully, never a Stage Mother; I was never one of the girls who wanted her parents to come watch class--performances only--so this worked out quite nicely for everybody. (I believe my mom put it best when, talking about watching us do barre, she said: "Carling, I love you, but if I wanted to watch grass grow..." I completely understood.) From my mother, I have inherited my tendency to snort when I laugh, my perfectionism, and my innate stubborn streak. She taught me to love the phrase "to be sure" in writing; and introduced the wonderfully useful "Move to strike as non-responsive" into my life. My mother always let each of us do what we wanted in life, with one condition: "Do what you want, but do it to the best of your ability." She taught me that makeup really isn't necessary (though for me, sunscreen is a MUST), and thanks to her I rarely wear makeup offstage, and so have pretty good skin, especially considering how much crap I pile on so many nights of the year for performances. When it came to boys, my sister and I learned: never change for a guy; do not tolerate lying; stay true to yourself; and make sure you can laugh. She always said that if we couldn't laugh at ourselves, we were taking life too seriously. (She also said, "Don't dish it out if you can't take it," which tells you a little something about how we express love in my family...and that is, served with a healthy slice of sarcasm, topped with some teasing.) Thanks to my mother, I am now a fan of the following: professional sports; reality shows about tattoo artists; Robert Downey, Jr.; creme brulee; the Spanish language; online shopping; knitting; blueberries topped with sugar; flavored sparkling water; Adidas sportswear; dipping my fingers in melting candle wax and then pretending to be a witch; Seal and Heidi Klum as favorite celebrity couple; Beauty and the Beast; the list could go on.
In short: Happy, happy, happy birthday, Mom. I miss you and love you, and think of you every day. And at tomorrow's end-of-season party, I will have a glass of champagne in your honor. (If I'm lucky, and the party committee thinks like I do, possibly a slice of cake as well.)