But there's one thing I do remember and remember well and it's something my mom told me not so very long ago. Not so very long ago, I was living at home, recuperating after a year gone wrong in France. Far from the shadow of the bomb shelter and a foreign roommate who yelled at me for not drinking expired milk, I had thought that I couldn't sink any lower than where I'd been. That things could only go uphill from there. And I was wrong. My post-college character building exercises weren't quite finished as I spent some hellish months job hunting with the same kind of success I have in performing, say, a triple axel. If you need it spelled out for you: I'm from Georgia, y'all. What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is an ice skating rink? It was a disaster. More to the point, I was a disaster. Over time, 'Why can't I land a job?' morphed into 'Why can't I open this jar of olives?' which devolved into, 'Why am I such a failure?' I was embarrassed and discouraged, beaten into a rock bottom I didn't know existed outside of the bomb shelter. And being terrified of what people would say about me with my fancy useless college degree and terrible luck, I was very good at tuning people out.
Then one day I was in the car with my mom. I, surprise, don't remember where we were or what we were doing. But she must have gauged how heartsick I was, because suddenly she was telling me to look at the rearview mirror. "Do you know why it's so small compared to the windshield?" she asked. I probably said nothing. "It's God's way of showing us to focus on the future." That got my attention. I'd spent so much time agonizing over the decisions in my past that had gotten me to where I was that I couldn't see what was right before me. That I was young and healthy with a bright future ahead, that God had good plans for me, that I had a more supportive family than a girl could hope for, that time hadn't run out to reach for the moon.
A lot has changed since then. Good changes did come. But I still find myself thinking about what she said to me back then all the time. All. the. time. Because it's useful to look back sometimes, yes, but your life depends on looking ahead.
So Happy Mother's Day, Mommy Moo! For all your pep talks and chicken and hot peppers, thank you. ILUSMM!