My Rockin’, Badass, Wise, Beautiful Mama

Yeah, I’m going to do a cheesy Mother’s Day weekend post. My mom kicks ass. She’s been a drag racer, a teacher, an activist, a motorcycle mama, a caterer, a small business owner, an environmentalist, a model, a nurse, a student, and the parent of me and my hellion siblings. The least she deserves is a shout-out on the interwebs.

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I’m pretty sure it’s been said a billion times, but moms are always teaching, intentionally or otherwise. Fortunately for me, my mom was very intentional about her teaching, and she taught by example.

She taught me to be confident in myself, and to be proud but not cocky. She taught me that rules were sometimes for bending, sometimes for breaking, but always with verve. 

She taught me how to change a tire, change my oil, drive, ride a motorcycle, cook and bake, and dance around the kitchen and laugh. She taught me useful phrases like, “I didn’t know they stacked crap that high!” and “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit.”

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She taught me how to dye my own hair, that I really ought not to cut my own bangs, but that a woman’s hair only needs to fit the way she sees herself and shouldn’t be for other people to judge. And that, in fact, a woman doesn’t need to have hair if she doesn’t want to.

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She taught me dignity and courage in the face of terrifying odds. She taught me not to underestimate myself and that a person can come back from anything.

She taught me that laughter and trust are the most important things in a relationship.

She taught me how to strike a pose. She is will always much better at this than I am.

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She taught me humility. Repeatedly.

She taught me that things like work, and chores, and other people’s expectations, will always bounce back at you when you drop them, but if you neglect the important people in your life, something beautiful will be irreparably lost.

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She taught me how to put on makeup, and that when in doubt, red lipstick is the way to go, and how to walk in high heels. She is still much better than I am at that last one.

She taught me how to read maps, and how to love road trips, and the value of getting lost.

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She taught me not to care about what other people think of me, unless I choose to value their opinions. She taught me that sometimes you have to make the really, really hard decisions to save yourself and the people you love.

She taught me how to make great fried rice, eggrolls and sushi. And how to make friends. (These two may be closely interrelated.)

She taught me the importance of learning and curiosity, to respect the common humanity of all people, and to question everything.

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So, on this Mother’s Day weekend, I just want to tell my Mama that it’s not just today that I’m grateful for you and everything you did to raise me. It’s every single day when I wake up and try to navigate the world with what you’ve taught me.

Love, peace, and gratitude,
Sumiko

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