How to react to an invitation: You check if you can make it, then respond as soon as possible – and then you are committed to actually going.
How to get dressed: I can wear whatever I want, as long as I’m warm enough, and as long as my shoes are appropriate.
How to shop 1: It’s better to save your money and buy a few things you really, really want.
How to shop 2: Walk in to the store. Scan the whole room for what you want. If you don’t see it, leave and move on the next store. Be efficient.
How not to cry over spilled red wine: With the right cleaning products (Biotex in Norway) you can get rid of most stains, as long as you treat the stains as soon as possible.
How to make sauce: Years after teaching me, she now regularly asks me to be her “sauce consultant” before family dinners.
How to walk: Short girls can walk fast too. (Especially if they have tall boyfriends.)
How to make great food: It’s all about preparation.
How to keep your home tidy: Never walk from room to room empty-handed – there is probably something in Room A that needs to be in Room B, so take it with you. (Not that either one of us necessarily practices this rule at all times.)
How to stand out in the crowd: If you wear something home-made or customized, there is no way anyone else will be wearing the same outfit.
How to be a parent: Talk to your kids like they’re real people. Believe in your children. Even when they’re teenagers.
Thank you, Mom, for making me fantastic unique outfits like my bridesmaid dress and customized handbag. Thank you for customizing my dress when it turned out my friend had bought the exact same one to wear to a high school dance. Thank you for learning how to dance West Coast Swing with me (you said it was just to stalk my new boyfriend, but then you got addicted). Thanks for all the home-baked bread, hemmed jeans and hand-knit socks. Thanks for being my secretary before I learned to write. Thanks for listening. Thank you for all the time you’ve spent on making my life better.
Thank you Mom, and happy birthday!
Photos: 1 and 2: My mom at her surprise birthday party a couple of years ago. My own photos. 3: Dancing West Coast Swing with my parents. Photo by Jean-Christophe Saville.