“Be bigger than your fears.”
I sat down to write about something else, but my mom Dorothy had other plans for me.
You see, tomorrow — December 20 — is her birthday; she passed away of pancreatic cancer in 2004. Since then, my beautiful sister Stephanie and I came up with the idea of getting together to celebrate her birthday by going to a cozy restaurant in Manhattan not far from where my mom lived for lunch. They serve great cheeseburgers there — one of my mom’s all-time favorite meals. And so Steph and I have burgers and fries in her honor. We also hoist a glass — either a gin & tonic or a Bloody Mary, depending on how we feel. My mom was a gin & tonic gal, but she also enjoyed a good Bloody Mary now and then.
As I sit here writing this, feeling sad and missing my mom, I’m surrounded by reminders of her. They’re all over my office. There’s a beautiful picture of her when she was young on my desk and other pictures of her holding my son Alex when he was little. She adored him and he felt the same about her. “Dot, I need you!” he would call out when he wanted help with a button or tying his shoes.
I also have all sorts of knickknacks from my mom’s apartment — a silver wizard standing atop a huge amethyst stone is my favorite. Nestled by it I have a Fortune cookie slip that says: “You should be able to undertake and complete anything.” The two are perfect together, because my mom really believed that about the people she loved. She believed that we could do anything we set our minds to. Anything! Whenever I was discouraged about my writing, I could call her up and she’d give me a pep talk. She was always in my corner. She had a tough life in many ways, but she was a Sagittarius and like the Archer, she was always outward bound and optimistic, young at heart and adventurous. “Be bigger than your fears,” she said to me once. Great advice for all of us. So today, in her honor, I’m passing it on. “I need you, Dot!” That’s what Alex used to say when he was little. So now, I’m saying it, too: “I need you, Dot!”