My mother taught me to break through the fourth wall
May 11, 2014
Fearless, and without a shred of self doubt, she is the first to volunteer from the audience. She will dance on stage and take an encore with the band. She is the arm around a crying stranger on a crowded flight. The voice behind a 5:30 a.m. phone call making sure you were not caught in a mudslide--one she saw on the news 200 miles away from your home.
Social barriers mean nothing to my mother.
Her total lack of self-consciousness was horrifying to me as a child. I tend to be reserved, always wanting to skate in the same direction as the crowd.
But even as an embarrassed and eye-rolling middle school student, I recognized that her tendency to ignore social construct was clearly rooted in kindness. An Intensive Care nurse, she would often check on her former patients when they returned home. She would think nothing of delivering a bag of groceries to a babysitter living paycheck to paycheck. She was the walker who tended a stranger with a dog bite in her very own kitchen.
I am a slow learner, and still struggling with stepping out of the crowd. But as I reach the middle of my 40's, I realize the sheer joy found in making connections and living in the moment. The joy in choosing to be kind rather than choosing to be correct. The satisfaction of breaking through the walls we build from each other.
My mother is never one to lay low and wear beige, and as I grow older I can see the freedom in this approach to life. So Mom, on this Mother's Day, instead of standing on the sidelines, I'll follow your lead and meet you in the middle of the rink.