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Thursday, 29 March 2001

Perfect

Written by  Sherri Mandell

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From my mother I learned how not to be perfect.

Most of the other mothers were perfect.

They scoured sinks. They checked the cuffs of their kids' pants so that they didn't bring home sand. They made their kids wash their hands before each time they ate. They prepared three course meals.

Then there was my mother.

We ate liverwurst sandwiches in her bed while we watched the Million Dollar Movie.

My mother painted our fingernails and we opened the windows for wind to blow them dry.

In my house we ate pizza for breakfast and poached eggs for dinner.

My mother's idea of nature was laying under a tree waiting for leaves to fall.

When everybody else took up jogging, we sauntered to the duck pond and fed the swans.

Of course, my mother wasn't strict. If I wanted to stay up, I could. As long as there was a good movie on for us to watch.

My mother always told me: as long as you do your best.

And she meant it.

If I didn't get an A, that was okay.

If I got a C, that was okay too.

She also knew the art of making do.

If the plates were dirty, we used paper plates.

If there were no paper plates, we ate on napkins.

My mother always made me feel that it was okay to be,

Just to be.

I didn't have to do anything to earn her love.

In this way, my mother's love for me and for life

was unconditional-

it just was.

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 March 2011 08:58
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Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell has a Master's degree in Creative Writing and has taught writing at the University of Maryland and Penn State University. She is the author of the book Writers of the Holocaust. She has written articles for the Washington Post. She is married with four children

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