My mom reached 87 this year. God bless her. Sure hope she gave me some of her genes!
For much of her life, even before I was born, she could be cold and stubborn, gracious but rude, liberal and conservative, accepting and very judgmental, controlling and demanding, submissive and coy. All with an extremely, self-centered, strong ego and vanity second to none. Your mom too? I sometimes refer to her as a drama queen/diva. She is also one of the more intelligent people I know, and can be extremely generous. Much more than I could ever hope to be. I really do love her. And beneath all of this, she is quite sentimental and emotional. I remember when I was a teen laughing and teasing her as she teared up watching what seemed, at the time, a corny scene in an Elvis Presley movie, of all things. I’ve witnessed her shedding tears many a time at similar instances, which I thought to be trivial, both in movies or real life.
Now some of you may be familiar with the late Jimmy Valvano, a college basketball coach who founded the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Shortly before he passed on, at the first ESPN Espy Awards, he received the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. During his acceptance speech (which you should all Google and experience), he mentioned three things we should do every day: laugh, think, and have your emotions moved to tears (for happiness or joy). I surely think a lot. I try to laugh whenever possible, but boy oh boy can I be moved to tears every single day, even over the most trivial sentiment (except any part of any Elvis movie — never liked any of them). It is, by far, the easiest thing to do.
So many things to bring out our emotions — the fragility of our existence; a child struggling with cancer; the innate goodness of man moved to a selfless act; the beauty of nature; a truly corny Hallmark movie (some real good ones lately); a certain hymn at Mass; a firefighter who perishes attempting to save someone; a daughter hugging her “Poppy” returning from war. So many things. So many things. I’ve shed more of these tears than all those I’ve seen coming from my mom’s eyes. Such a sentimental fool am I. Truly, truly thankful I have those genes from my mom. Truly.
This is a most emotional, sentimental time of the year is it not? Of our life on this orb, yes? Love is the word.
Peace and Merry Christmas. God bless us … everyone.
Frank Terranella said:
I am so glad to see that your mother is alive and well. She is a very special person. You probably know that she taught me in 3rd grade. But you don’t know that she was the first teacher who ever inspired me to be the best I could be. I had nuns in 1st and 2nd grade and did not get on with them well. Looking back now, I guess I was just bored by their teaching style. Anyway, I didn’t pay attention in class and they gave me poor marks in all the behavioral categories on the report card. Your mother saw those marks, but didn’t give up on me as some teachers might. Instead, she challenged me and I responded positively and went on to the Honor Roll in high school and then on to college and law school. But if not for a great teacher like your mom, I may have taken a different path. I thank God for her and wish her many more happy years.
John Paul Rosas said:
Beautifully written Mr. Kunz. I’m so glad you penned your words when you did and your beautiful mother has the opportunity read them over and over again.