Today is my mom's birthday, so Happiest of Birthdays momma! And yeah, I've already wished you a happy birthday over the phone, and on Facebook, so now you get the blog treatment. And for that I thought I'd make a list of the 10 most important life lessons I've learned from you. And 5 things I'd like you to learn from me!
10 life lessons from the book of Eva.
1) Call your daughter every day. Although I think you may have learned this one from Nana, since she certainly calls you every day. Since I moved away from home at 18 to go away to University in Hamilton, there aren't many days that you haven't called me...or I haven't called you. Sure sometimes we don't even say anything (what's new with you? nothing since yesterday mom), it means the world to me to know that anything important in my life, and many, many unimportant things, will be discussed with you right away.
2) Always have gum. In you purse, in your car, in your kitchen. And never hesitate to offer it around. Luckily for me, you pretty much include multi-packs of gum in every care package and gift you've ever sent me, so I pretty much never have to buy my own.
3) You can never have too much food when you have guests. Like any good Italian woman, you embody generosity with feeding people. For instance, when having people over for breakfast, why would you make just bacon and eggs, when you could make Bacon, eggs, a breakfast strata, french toast and pancakes, and whatever dish you found on pinterest last night. ooh and monkey bread. Oh and you probably baked cookies too. Food is an expression of love, and you always give it freely and abundantly.
4) Friends are important, have more of them. I totally take after my dad on the social side of things, we'd both rather spend a weekend at home with our hobbies (him: airplanes, guitar, VW Beetles, me: wool, youtube, books, anything creative/DIY) then out socializing. But my mom has always pushed me out of my comfort zone to make more friendships. And I'm glad for this, because my group of friends are very important to me, but also, I see how much my mom's friends care for her, and I know I always want that in my own life.
5) No matter what your job is, have pride in it, and work hard at it. Somewhere in a bin in our basement, my mom has the "Fries and Shakes" person of the year award she earned working a McDonald's in high school. My mother has more work ethic in her little finger than most people can muster in a week, and has been the biggest asset to any of the companies she has worked for. This is one of the most important examples of teaching by example, and I know Mark and I will have success in life solely by emulating you on this. Your retirement is well earned Mom.
6) Read books, always. For as long as I have known my mom (and I've known her my whole life), she has always taken time for herself to sit on the couch upstairs by the window and read books. I am so happy to take after you in this. Because as my living room full of bookshelves can attest to, I am not me without books. You set a daily example of the importance of reading, by doing it and loving it.
7) Be involved in your children's education. Whether it was coming up with grand ideas for Mark and I's orals every year, always being the first to sign up as a volunteer parent at school functions, or pushing us to strive for top grades, you were all over it. Everything about my idealistic experience of elementary school was made better because of your involvement. And then you gave me the greatest gift of all, by backing off when I moved on to high school, but still caring and encouraging me all the same.
8) Always pack more then you think you will need, particularly things from Shoppers. Every time I pack for a vacation, I always call you to see what I am forgetting. And when you and dad moved me in to residence in first year, sure people where shocked at how many bins we managed to unpack into my tiny dorm, but people were grateful to swing by my room, the floor's pharmacy, anytime they needed band-aides, or Tylenol, or cold meds all year. And I certainly didn't have to go to Shopper's Drugmart even once all year. I still keep a fully stocked drawer of everything I could possibly need in a pinch, and when I go on trips, I pack meds and tampons, no matter what time of the month it is, just in case!
9) Worrying is good sometimes. A reasonable dose of worry can keep you safe. Worrying over your children, long after they've moved out of the house, lets them know how much you love them. And may sometimes prevent them from doing stupid things. Sure you can go a little bit overboard. But I find myself sounding just like you every time Kevin drives back to Medicine Hat from Calgary, and I insist not only that he drive safe (you know because if I hadn't said it, he'd probably drive reckless) but also that he call me as soon as he's home.
10) Family, first and always. Mom I hope you know how blessed you are to come from such an amazing group of people as the Bruni's are. The amount of love shared between the 7 of you siblings is matched only by the level of crazy, but I wouldn't trade my family in for anything else in the world. And if sometimes I wished you and dad would have taken after your parents and provided Mark and I with a few more siblings, I never really needed them because of how close we got to be with our cousins. It is the worst thing ever to be living out here in Calgary and miss out on all of the circus that goes on with our family back home in the Soo. and I know how much you miss me too. But I still feel all of the love that comes with such a great family, and cherish every second I get to spend with you all. From my earliest childhood, our family has been the example that has lead me to know, with certainty, I want my own one day. And I know, I know, I'm almost 28, and I'm still making you wait, but I promise you'll get your grand-babies soon. (just not too soon).
Now it's my turn, here are 5 things I'd love to teach you.
1) Hair is just hair. Mom, I dyed my hair this weekend, you won't like it. You'll say why can't you just please, please for my birthday, dye it a nice brown. I think I even did that for you last year on your birthday. But mom, seriously, it's only hair, and me dyeing my hair different colours should be a lesson for you. Firstly, that it doesn't matter what you look like if you're happy about it. So dress how you want, do your hair how you want, and don't give a crap about what other people might think. If you spend your whole life worrying about how you look to other people, you'll have a hard time loving how you look to yourself.
2) Sure black might be slimming, but don't look like a funeral at a wedding. This lesson is one I've been telling you and my aunts, at pretty much every wedding our family goes to. On my one day wedding invitations will be the line : "No black dresses permitted. Bright colours are preferred. Navy blue is pretty much black." Or something to that extent. I think wearing black to a wedding every now and then is fine, a little black dress can be beautiful, but when all the Bruni women show up wearing black, you start to wonder who died.
3) It's okay to do some things just for yourself. Mom, you've been a shining example of selflessness throughout my whole life. But giving too much of yourself can leave you with nothing left. So take more time to do things just for you and for noone else. Take more days in your pjs, with your coffee, a blanket and a good book, and zero guilt that you should be doing something else. Go out and learn something new that you've always wanted to. I mean I certainly don't sit and spin wool because anyone else thinks I should. It's ok to be selfish sometimes.
4) Get a puppy. I feel this lesson is pretty self explanatory. But just think of how empty the house has been without Flurry. Especially now that you guys have knocked down that wall to the kitchen. A dog would be so happy in the new kitchen. Plus think of how pumped Jovi and Sadie, and Sandy would be to have a new dog cousin in the family.
5) You can get on a plane and fly to Alberta literally any time you want. Mom, you were last here in 2013, I think it's time you come see your daughter again. Further more, I'll extend this lesson to include flying anywhere else. Also going for a fly with dad, you married a pilot for God's sake. My point is, we miss each other, and who knows where Kevin and I will live next, but you can always come visit. Multiple times a year if you want. Don't make flying somewhere out to be a big trip, next time you wish we could spend more time together, get online and look for a seat sale.
Happy Birthday Mom.