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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Look, Ma, a successful adult

Having trouble thinking of a meaningful gift for Mother’s Day? How about letting your mother know what an important and lasting impact she has had on your life? Knowing that they’ve raised fulfilled, healthy, successful, and self-aware kids is the best gift any mother could ever hope for. Let your mom know exactly what she did to turn you into the adult you are today and how her influence still shapes your attitude, behavior, and decisions. And be specific. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
First and foremost, thank you for always telling me how proud you were of me and pointing out all of the ways in which I was (and am) special. Because of you, I know how important it is to love yourself. Thank you for insisting that I always be on time. I may have dragged my feet a lot as a kid, but now I know that punctuality shows respect for other people. Thank you for showing me how to conduct a civil disagreement with others. Although I don’t enjoy confrontation, I am comfortable sharing and defending my views. Thank you for being a stickler about completing chores. I may never love to vacuum and do laundry, but I know how to keep myself and my house clean. Thank you for teaching me that people do judge a book by its cover. I may not always be a walking fashion plate, but I do take pride in my appearance. And I know to iron my shirt and pants before important occasions. Thank you for forcing me to eat asparagus and Brussels sprouts when all I wanted was chicken fingers and potato chips. Now I’m a healthy eater who loves the produce aisle. Thank you for encouraging me to keep trying and practicing after I was cut from the soccer team. You taught me how to be determined and resilient, and that persistence usually pays off. Thank you for teaching me how to be polite and courteous to everyone I meet. I have gotten to know so many interesting people because I simply smiled and said hello. Thank you for reading bedtime stories to me for years. You introduced me to so many new ideas, and you helped to make me a creative and imaginative person. Thank you for drilling me on my spelling words before my quiz each week. You taught me how valuable it is to put your best effort into whatever job you happen to be doing.
Todd Patkin is the author of “Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and — Finally — Let the Sunshine In.”

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