Ode to My Beautiful Mother

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My mother wasn’t just a beautiful person, she was a selfless mother. Everything she did showed us how much she loved us, even when we didn’t always agree.

It took my mother many years to accept that I was a lesbian, not because she didn’t love me, but because she did. She thought that somehow she’d done something wrong and that my life would be very hard if I wasn’t able to get married and have 2.5 kids. That’s what she’d been taught.

When she met my first long-term girlfriend (who happened to be beautiful and charming), her viewpoint changed. After just a couple of years and a few books that she’d managed to check out of the library on having a gay child, she was forever converted.

I know she would have been very happy to perform the role of mother of the bride when I could officially marry my partner two years ago, but alas she had died two years earlier.

Being the confused young woman I was, I’d broken three engagements by the time I figured out I was a lesbian. Mom had to unravel each mess, including the one where I’d practically left the poor guy at the alter (not really, but close enough). My family thought I’d never get married. They affectionately called me the runaway bride. There are worse things than being compared to Julia Roberts. I hope she was able to smile upon us from above.

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I tell a story about my wonderful mother at our New Employee Orientation each month to demonstrate what I call using the Platinum Rule versus the Golden Rule. I don’t like the Golden Rule and I’ll tell you why with my story about my mom.

One day my mom was visiting my grandmother who had deteriorated so much that she had to be in a nursing home. Mom came across an old woman literally lying on the floor. She went over to the woman and helped her to the couch and then got to talking with her. On subsequent visits, my mom would visit this old woman who had absolutely no one come to visit her – no friends, no family. This woman was completely alone at the nursing home.

My mother was Italian and food is everything in the Italian culture, so her favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. Mom would always send holiday cards, including Thanksgiving cards. One day while chatting with this old woman, who I need to remind you had no one in her life, mom asked, “Would it be okay if I send you cards and letters sometimes? You see I love the holidays and it gives me pleasure to do that.”

I am not as enlightened as my wonderful mother because I would have assumed that surely this old woman who had no one in her life would love to receive cards and letters. Not my mother – she did not assume anything. She practiced the Platinum Rule – Do onto others as they would have you do onto them. The Golden Rule assumes everyone is the same. Everyone is unique and different. I might appreciate something that another person shies away from. My mother taught me the Platinum rule and I try very hard to treat each person as an individual. I fall short often, but my mom was a true inspiration to me.

I selected my pen name because of my mother. Her maiden name was Annette Torre (not an exact match, but pretty darn close).

I miss my mother every day, but today is particularly hard for me. If I could send flowers to heaven to let her know I am thinking of her, I would. Maybe I’ll just dedicate my next book, Asset Management, to her. She would have liked it because she always loved mysteries and action packed books. My mother was an English major, teacher and avid reader. She never got to read anything I wrote because I started so late in life. Too bad I could have used her red pen!

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If you can read this, mom….I love you!  Happy Mothers Day.

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