My mother taught me to cry with dignity.

She taught me how to be strong in a man's world and yet, at the same time, to cling to that which makes me most feminine.

She taught me the value of a well-timed, passionate rage and the beauty of a fluttered eyelash.

She taught me how to walk with my shoulders back and my head up, at all times, and in all circumstances, even the ones that want to swallow me whole.

My mother taught me how to make hospital corners.

My mother pointed out spring bulbs as they pushed their way through the last of Michigan's harsh snows; every year she did that, and now I know their names like they are my own children: daffodil, iris, tulip, hyacinth...My garden has her to thank.

My mother taught me that the bathtub is really a sanctuary of warmth and sweet-scented bubbles to be enjoyed privately and often and for hours at a time.

My mother taught me to make love to myself first, and that way I would always have enough to share.

She taught me how to throw a perfectly spiraled football - better than most men I know.

She showed me how to cook without measuring, and to love the same way that I cooked.

She showed me how to laugh with my whole body.

My mother showed me that grown-ups make mistakes, too.

And my mother, bless her, taught me to listen to my heart and to my mind and to find the narrow space of truth that lies between the two.