Today would have been her 70th birthday. I'm wearing her gold aquamarine ring.
I'm wearing it to remember to be gentle, to slow down, and to offer every stranger who ever sets foot in your house the biggest Italian bread sandwich known to man.
To garden always (or at least try), to worship tomatoes, and to write fancy sick notes for my future children (complete with pressed flowers and calligraphy pens).
To see the best in the cranky gas station attendant, to look them in the eye and see their human, to wear black and white as a religion, to sip water from fancy red brandy glasses, and to treat yourself even when you don't feel like you deserve it. (You do.)
To read more crime mysteries, to use paperbacks as a drug, put whip cream in your coffee, and to indulge in quiet time like other people indulge in happy hour.
To sign your name with gorgeous intention (in particular when there are people in line behind you at the grocery store), to lovingly obsess over the details, to always let people have their moment, and to be classy—even when you're angry.
To pick a husband who will put you on a pedestal, to remember never to take him for granted, to love without judging, and to try not to judge much at all, period. (You never know someone's story.)
And most importantly, to put a wildly beautiful stamp on everything you do, and to live, live, live, not as much as you can afford, but as much as you can feel. Because as long as you feel something, the rest are just details.
Love you, mom. A lot of people tell me that you'd be proud of me. But what they don't know is that everything I've accomplished has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the way I was raised.
And that being the case?
I'm just as proud of you.
Happy 70th birthday.