Where you come from matters. The influences in life you have as you are young and developing play an important role in your adult life. They can be something you have to work to overcome, or if you are lucky, they can be good building blocks. Today is my mother’s birthday. As you can see, I learned a lot from her. Including, but not limited to, my unique eating style. I was fortunate enough to be instilled with many good skills and habits that have served me as I grew older.

Despite not teaching me how to win a “Howl like a wolf” contest, she has taught me many a great thing. My ability to get along with people had much of it’s genesis in watching her. I recall, when we were young, we took the public bus many places. In an attempt to keep her curious son from wandering off, or talking to people he shouldn’t, we played games. One of the ones I remember best was doing the vocabulary tests out of the magazine Reader’s Digest. In hindsight, it was a little above my age grade. Due to that, I now have a rather large vocabulary.

We have even met celebrities like Smokey Bear on his 75th birthday! There are many things we do to this day that are quite a lot of fun. A few are listed below. Check out both the fun pictures and the amazing things that we explore together.

We go for many hikes in nature. This not only helps keep us healthy, but satisfies both of our appreciation for all things natural. We explore different parks and forests.

We attend different cultural events together, such at the Octoberfest in the picture above. It is fun learning about different cultures and trying their cuisine.

We do various run/walks for charity. Some of them even include a tasty cream puff at the end. This not only helps us do our best to improve our health, but allows us to help others as we do. Yet another thing that I learned from my mother.

We attend and support different activities in the community. Like a soup crawl in the dead of winter. It takes special convincing to get me out when the temperature is cold. Even if her and Margie did enjoy making bracelets.

Speaking of winter! My mom may be the only person who likes our zoo as much as me. We even attended a winter event that featured many beautiful light displays. We could both go to the zoo every day. It was much to her dismay we were not able to take a picture with the otters on this day.

It may be said that nobody enjoys the Wisconsin State Fair more than I do. My mom does come close and Margie is starting to get there. We go and enjoy trying some of the new foods. (I am telling you mom, you missed out with the gummy bear brat) We always watch the awards they hand out and walk around to look at the art and the gardens.

Over the years we have done many things together. We have went on vacations, went to all of the places above and more! Whether it is exciting locations like these, or just getting together for a nice cup of coffee, we always have a lot to talk about, which might be something else I got from her. So I just wanted to take a special moment and say “Happy Birthday” to my mom. Also, to say “Thank you” for playing a large part in the man that I have become today. I love you so much for all that you do and who you are. I am grateful for the best mom on earth. I hope you have the most amazing day!


  1. Neil, I normally love your posts and I am so glad you and your mom are close. My mom and I were to. However, I do not agree with this one. Yes family can have a huge INFLUENCE on you but where you come from does NOT matter. I’ve watched countless people with great parents and support be plain ol’ bad people. I’ve also seen people who had nothing growing up, not even emotional support who turned out to be awesome people. Not to pick on rich people but just following some of them I’ve seen them have a ton of support and be a super bad person. They weren’t taught that but they made choices as adults, even given the right ones and are still bad eggs. My mom and I were on welfare as a kid, she worked 2 jobs, we got food from local churches and pantries. I was harassed and beat up as a child, even stabbed once (thanks to my coat it only slightly cut me). I’ve been belittled most of my childhood and more than half of my adulthood. Yeah, we all have issues but even through all that I still maintain that I’ve never been arrested and I’ve never hurt anyone physically. I have manners (most of the time) and raised my daughter very well. So yeah…I disagree with the title.


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