When my mom hit her 75th birthday, I vowed to take her on a trip anywhere in the world she wanted to go. It’s been my dream since I can recall and I was able to do the same for my father, celebrating his 75th (albeit a few months later) in Maui, enjoying cocktails, sun, and time with him that I will never forget, nor would I exchange for anything.
As my mom’s birthday inched closer, I too, was nearer to fulfilling my vision of a spectacular time with one of my best friends, ardent supporters, and all-time heroes.
Then, like a lot of people’s plans in 2020, I found mine come to an ass-grinding halt until further notice.
So, as I wait, plot, save and plot some more, I want to tell you about my mom, Jean.
No amount of school can teach me what my mom has taught me. An only child, my mother had only her parents who she idolized – the most being her father who, to this day recants stories of and can’t help but get misty every time. She was (and is!) the daughter you’d hope for, and her kindness and consideration are only eclipsed by her dedication and loyalty. Piss her off, and you will find that kindness and consideration dissipate as she can hold a grudge like Walter Payton carried a football: with style and consistency.
Growing up my family was split. My sister lived with my father in her teens and I, with my mom. Amazingly I had no curfew as I never needed one. I came home at reasonable times and prior to any mobile devices, my mom knew exactly where I was or had the uncanny ability to find me if she was concerned. Like a scout sniper, she could locate me in spectacular fashion. There was no chill with Jean, not even in mid-game at the Big East basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden in 1986.
“Can Rob Alberino please pick up the white courtesy phone? Repeat, can Rob Alberino please pick up the white courtesy phone, thank you.”
No lies told. She could find Jimmy Hoffa if she wanted to.
What I am trying to say is we had a bond. We had trust. We relied on each other in every way possible.
But beyond her sleuth abilities, she is, as my father would say, “beyond overly considerate.” Something most people take for granted or fail to even possess, my mom is more concerned about others’ well-being than she is her own. Whether she has raised you or recently been acquainted, she is a friend that a friend would want to have.
The life lessons that my mom have taught me, I’ve carried with me forever. I wanted to share them with you, as they are must-know-messages. They are indelible reminders that should be placed on a shelf and revisited often to keep us in check. Here goes.
- Don’t cheat. God’s watching. It will come back to you.
- Learn to cook; sauce from a jar is a mortal sin.
- Be authentic. If someone doesn’t like you, it’s their problem.
- Reinvent yourself. It’s key to growing. (Editor’s note, my mother … after 40 took up pottery, painting, piano, golf and more… and she’s disgustingly amazing at all of the aforementioned. She is a true renaissance woman.)
- Travel the world. Just sound advice.
- If you are within a few hours of a friend, relative, or loved one, find a way to get to them. Time is ticking and we can’t get any more of it.
- Don’t forget people’s birthday… good news is she knows everyone’s and sends them to me religiously.
- Forgive but don’t forget. This could be construed as negative, but life can be a &^%$#, so keep your guard up.
- You’re never too old to hug and kiss your mom or dad.
- Sing out loud. Who cares who is listening.
I know these sound elementary at times but I find that I take my mom everywhere with me. She is the beacon that both my wife and I have set our sights on when times get tough. Because she has done her job and delivered me an education, safe place to live, sound role model to admire, my mom has set the bar for who I have grown to be as a parent, husband, and friend. She has helped me deliver my children to the very same destination (Lisa and I are 2 for 3 right now and hope to complete the turn with Stella!)
With her birthday here, help me wish my beautiful mom the happiest of celebrations. With every year I learn something new. With every year I find gratitude in her methods and madness. With every year I am blessed with her advice and friendship. And, finally, with every year I realize that she is the gift to us on this day.
Thanks to my hero.