My first ever “published” book, a self-pubbed job with a print run of exactly one copy, was a tribute to my mom, titled Clare, the Novel. At age nine I hadn’t quite grasped the nuances of literary genres. Clare was, in fact, not a novel; it was a biography. You see, even at such a young age I knew my mother was something special. She deserved a tribute.
So I rubber cemented photos of Mom onto the colorful pages of construction paper and added my written highlights. One picture depicted her poolside with a gaggle of my “aunties”–all Mom’s best friends that could support or scold me, band-aid a skinned knee and send me home in a pinch. I grew up in a tight neighborhood, free-wheeling it on my banana-seated purple bike, weaving between my “aunties” houses, visiting friends, playing kick-the-can or softball until it turned too dark to play.
Mom encouraged me to ride. Sports were a part of life. She also taught me to ski. She pushed me to excel at everything I tried. In Clare, the Novel, I glued a photo of her skiing, with the orange pom-pom on her hat bouncing down the slopes. Born and raised in Florida, Mom didn’t learn to ski until she married my dad and moved to Seattle. He once told her that while she “would probably never ski the same run as him, at least she could ski on the same hill.” She took that as a challenge. Now Mom is a better skier than she’s ever been. Just last weekend, she joined me skiing Powder Bowl, a black diamond at
Crystal. And she killed it.
My earliest book also showed a picture of her stepping out of the shower. Only her beautiful runner’s leg poked out from the shower curtain. It was supposed to be an “embarrassing” moment in the biography, revealing the innermost secrets of the subject. But in fact, I was proud of her. She had great legs. She was beautiful, and she was my mom.
My mother, Clare, is still beautiful. She has supported me, comforted me, cajoled me and pushed me. She has been my coach, my mentor, my confidante. I remember a conversation I once had with my grandfather, her father, about her. She would always be
his little girl, and I loved answering his questions. He wanted to know if she still held the same outlook she did as a young girl. “Is she happy,” he asked. “Does the light in her eyes make you smile?”
“Yes,” I told him. “Her smile makes me smile.”
I’m a very lucky daughter; I have a fabulous mom.