Did you like the story about Cornelius? I think about how you used to tell me, “Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t make it right.”

You encouraged me not to do what everyone else was doing. You encouraged me to be myself. It was okay to be different. How many times do I remember you saying, “Oh, I never cease to be amazed!”

I amazed you, didn’t I, Mother? Amazed myself sometimes too. Maybe not always for the best reasons. But it was amazing.

You also taught me to work hard. And to practice. Oh, the zillions of hours I practiced. But I learned discipline. You taught me that.

So, I want to thank you, Mother. Thank you for encouraging me to be myself. To be who I am. Thank you.