What my mother taught me

Today’s post is by one of Ovia’s amazing writers, Rachel. To celebrate Mother’s Day, she writes about the important lesson her mama taught her. Did your mother impart lasting wisdom on you? Let us know what you’ve learned from her in the comments!

My mom and I couldn’t be any more alike or any more different. She’s perpetually tan with chestnut hair and green eyes, and I’m a blue-eyed blonde with an aggressively pale complexion. My mom will go run on the elliptical for an hour to cool down from a three-hour tennis match, and I congratulate myself every time I walk up the escalator instead of standing on the side. Everyone who’s ever met both of us has said, “You two are just alike.”

And we are. Sure, she’s an engineer with an Ivy League degree and I’m a writer who thinks math is for suckers, but we share a deep love for animals, movie theatre popcorn, and each other. We have the same laugh, the same taste in musicals, and the same opinion of who should win Dancing with the Stars this season.

I’ve learned a lot from my mom, but one thing that sticks out this Mother’s Day is a story she told me about a revelation she had at an ice cream shop. A friend went to go order for everyone, and when he asked what she wanted, she said she didn’t care — anything was good. He came back from the counter, gave everyone their ice cream, and handed my mom a scoop of vanilla.

Turns out, my mom didn’t really like vanilla ice cream, but she’d said she didn’t care, so she ate it. (She’s adaptable like that.) But she came away with this lesson, which she shared with me: When you don’t ask for what you want, you’ll end up with vanilla.

She taught me to ask for things that I want, and she’s worked hard my entire life to help me get them. When I wanted to become a vegetarian, she started making portobello mushrooms every Thanksgiving. When I wanted to become a writer, she went back into the workforce to send me to my first choice of college. And now, working at Ovia, where pretty much every day is Mother’s Day, my relationship with my mom is especially meaningful. I am where I am because of her.

And I never ask for vanilla.

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