To celebrate Mom’s life, I want to tell you about some of the things that I am grateful to her for.
For feeding me and making me eat my vegetables. I hated school lunches and she made me a sandwich every morning. We had dinner on the table every evening at 5 PM when Dad walked in. She taught me the value of a family sitting together for dinner.
For the love of music. Mom took us to Broadway musicals. She bought me tickets to see Carmen when I was in elementary school and it began a love affair with opera. In fact, my love of music ranges from Led Zeppelin to Puccini.
For teaching me the value of friends through example. She loved her friends dearly and supported them with loyalty and a caring ear. Long lunches with her good friends was one of her favorite things to do. She loved my friends and offered them hospitality. Mom always said, “You have the nicest friends!”
For teaching me to appreciate the beauty in nature. I remember weekends at the beach. We’d stay in the water until our fingers were shriveled and our lips blue. That’s when I developed my lifelong love for all things underwater. Not caring much for material things, she always loved to receive and look at beautiful flowers and plants.
For teaching me to look for quality. When she gave a gift or made any purchase, you could be sure that she inspected every item and would not settle for anything less than perfection.
For teaching me the art of gift giving. She was able to give people what they really wanted. When Kris and I got married, she learned his shirt and pant sizes and studied the styles he liked. He’s so picky about his clothes, that I have difficulty buying clothes for him. Somehow she knew what he liked. His birthday and Christmas are close together so between the clothes he got for Christmas and for his birthday, he was set for his wardrobe for the year.
For teaching me to love animals. Mom kept two turtles for quite a while. She loved those turtles and talked to them. Even though she was a clean freak (and I’m not exaggerating) and didn’t want animals in the house, she let me have a kitten that someone was giving away. Tammy was my beloved companion for years, sleeping while I read. More recently, she loved my dogs, Latte, Mocha and Haku, and called them her granddogs. Our Christmas tree was always full of toys and treats from Grandma.
For encouraging me to learn and try everything. She supported every interest I had no matter how short-lived. Piano, hula, Okinawan dance, ukulele, and one day of tap. I was never good at any of those things, but she still supported me.
For giving me the confidence to try new things like starting my own photography business, like trying out for the pep squad, taking up SCUBA diving, having an art show, and starting a sandwich business. She truly believed that I could do anything well. It was and still is hard to live up to that.
More than anything, I am thankful to Mom for loving me fully and for forgiving me…over and over.