An Ode to a Mother

by Danny Zawacki

I’ve known my mother for my entire life, and now half of hers (give or take a few months). I’ve got to say, she’s one helluva woman. Today I don’t have a chance to see her, but I had a chance to talk to her; she’s off in Chicago celebrating her day with her friends.

My mother, Lauri, has been a creative inspiration for me for as far back as I can remember because she has always encouraged me and my brother and sister to explore our creative juices. She encourages us by example. I’ve known my mother to dabble in a bit of everything and each thing she touches is good. She’s painted, quilted, worked with glass, created clothes, sketched, experimented with food, and other projects here and there.

I remember a time in middle school or high school when my mother’s love of art got the best of her. I had a particularly frustrating bit of artwork due for class and she came over to offer her help. I accepted and stepped away for a moment. Next thing I knew, she’d taken over the project herself, lost in the creative process. It was the last time I let my mother touch one of my pieces of art, before it was finished. She’s good, but she’d also taught me to develop my voice.

My own voice came through in writing, something she’s admitted isn’t something of her own which she’s been comfortable with. The times we’ve discussed this, I gave her the same advice she’d give me in other areas of artistics, just keep practicing and eventually you’ll figure it out. Just keep practicing.

There’s a saying I learned awhile back that goes roughly, “Jack of all, master of none.” In no way does this saying apply to my mother. Well, okay, the first part of it does. As in arts, I’ve known my mother to dabble in different trades over the years. I’ve known her to be a sales rep, a screen printer, an interior decorator, a homemaker, and a person with astounding customer service skills. To me this says that I truly can be anything, and life is too short to pick only one. Do what you want to do, when you want to do it.

Mom and Me

Mom showing me the ropes of being a model.

 

Okay, so my mother taught me some great lessons about life. Why should you care? You should care because people say they have great moms but I truly have the best mother. I have a mother who can sit with me on Sundays while my dad is at work and watch four hours of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, not because it’s good but because we enjoy it. My mother is great because I can tell her how beautiful I am and she’ll come back with, “Well we know where you get that from,” as she brushes the hair off her face.

My mother is great because when I was old enough to drink, we started an unspoken tradition of drinking white Russians at Christmas. Why? Because we happened to have milk, Kahlua, and vodka that first year. Now, it’s on the Christmas shopping list (this year, I’m bringing the vodka).

My mother is great because even though life isn’t always easy (I mean seriously, she had to raise me) she can put on her tough face and deal with things. It’s inspiring.

My mother is great simply because she believes in me. She try to stop me from getting a major in creative writing (this whole site is a musing on that degree). She didn’t put up a fuss when I decided to get a motorcycle, even though they’re death traps. And though she knew she’d have trouble with me being away from home, she didn’t once try to keep me from joining the Peace Corps. She supported me and has always supported me in everything I do.

Mom and me

Shortly before my brother’s wedding.

 

Today is my mother’s birthday and it deserves to be celebrated. Have yourself an early Christmas, Lauri and Danny style, and toast my mother because she deserves it.