My daughter is home from college for winter break. I am delighted. And even more so because she offered to guest post! Here is her first. Hopefully there will be more.

No, this is not the most creative post idea. No, I am not finding life lessons in last week’s funny story as my mother so often, and so capably, does. I’m seventeen, so I generally end up regretting my life lessons within the month. I’m decidedly not qualified to give my inconsistent advice out online. But I am reasonably qualified to describe my mother. So without further ado, here is my mother as presented by the daughter who just moved out and now realizes what she was taking for granted all those years.

First, she has this sense of spiritual and emotional balance that follows her everywhere. Even when she believes she is at her most unbalanced, she is actively trying to fix that. She steps out of the room to collect herself when she starts arguing with my brother. She apologizes endlessly if she thinks sleep deprivation is making her cranky or pessimistic. And this is at her worst. At her best, she calms us all down. She reminds us to appreciate the little details of life. She sees and experiences and shares the world in the best ways.

Second, she’s different. She wears red high-top Converse, too many colorful bracelets, and an ear cuff. She specifically told me that I’m allowed to get a tattoo if I really want one, because she almost did when she was my age, but I can never wear “those shorts with the writing across the butt.” Overall, she’s gloriously abnormal and she’s taught me to be the same way. I’m so eternally grateful.

Third, she doesn’t act her size. There are no tall women on that side of my family. I believe I’m the only woman who ever reached statistically average height. But she has biceps the size of my calves – because she goes to the gym at 5:30 AM every other day and works out with the same group of intense men who are nearly twice her weight. (They scare me a little, but she’s friends with all of them.) She’s way stronger than me, incredibly stubborn, and ridiculously hard working. Go back and put about three times more emphasis on the words “incredibly” and “ridiculously” and you’ll come close to describing the determination with which she approaches life.

Fourth, she appreciates the world like no one I’ve ever met. She is grateful for every minute that I’m home from college. Truly, consciously recognizing and re-recognizing her gratitude, every minute. She is the one who taught me to be “in the moment” – to be aware of the world around me and enjoy its little beauties. She is the kind of person who says, “Don’t you just stop sometimes and realize how wonderful your life is?” And on top of all this, she spreads her appreciation. She has helped me find some of this same conscious gratitude, and for that I am (guess what?) grateful.

I am grateful for a lot of things. I am grateful that my mother trusts me and my writing ability enough to ask me to guest post on her blog. I am grateful that she taught me to wear obnoxious earrings and bright turquoise cowboy boots. I am grateful that I inherited a bit of her New Yorker spirit and near-comical stubbornness. But most of all, I am grateful that this remarkable woman is my mother.

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