Happy Birthday, Mother Superior

My mother, Delianne Greydanus Koops, is 63 today, if I have done the math correctly. So in her honor, I decided to make a list of some of her unofficial "rules." Some of you will argue that this is not really a poem, and maybe you're right. But I was thinking about my mom, and the atmosphere of love and warmth and celebration that she brought to our home, and some of those funny "mom" things I remember her saying, and this just felt right. I noticed that when I started tapping my memories and writing things down, so many of them have to do with food and sitting around the table together. One of my mother's greatest talents is the gift of hospitality. I still want to be like her when I grow up. Happy birthday, Mom!

Rules I learned from my mother:

1. Always invite the stranger in--there's always enough room at the table for a few more teenagers, MIT graduate students, Sudanese refugees, difficult (or easygoing) relatives, lonely co-workers, or elderly neighbors. Always.

2. No fake food! Insist on real butter, good coffee, fresh bread.

3. Leftover blackberry pie is a perfectly good breakfast food.

4. Stand up straight; you'll look better and feel better too.

5. If you're not hungry enough to eat an apple or some carrot sticks, you're probably not hungry.

6. Hang up your clothes! (I'm still working on this one)

7. To breastfeeding mothers: Quit worrying about everything. Sit down, put your feet up, and have a beer. It's good for you and good for the baby.

8. Celebrate life's milestones, big and small. Not just birthdays and anniversaries, but Fridays, report card days (even if the report cards aren't perfect), rainy days, etc.

9. A brisk walk cures (almost) all.

10. Even a simple meal, when served and eaten with love, can be a feast.