Let me make one thing clear: When it comes to praise for, memories of, and things I’ve learned from my mom, an endless stream surges, much more than can fit in a mere post under a thousand words.

I could share countless stories about my mom, and in due course I will document many.

But for this post, I have a different goal. I want to define the reasons why my Mom has been one of my primary mentors throughout the course of my entire life.

Mom and me in the mid 70's when I was just a toddler.

Time Brings Clarity

The older I get, the more I realize my mother, Lynn Isaacson-Fink, is brilliant.

Even though the older she gets, the more she feels her mind and senses are blurring around the edges. Diminishing faculties or not, she still exhibits her brilliance to me daily.

Many forms of intelligence exist, from book smart to street smart, and other types, too. My mother, a woman of grace, charm, and fundamental serenity, is undeniably people smart. She can enrapture an entire room and fully attend to any conversation, making those around her feel not only seen, but understood.

My mother sees the depth in others, and effortlessly brings it out. She not only exudes kindness, attracting people to her easily whether it’s in a check-out line, tennis court, or bustling party, but she has such a high degree of emotional intelligence that I’m not the only person who talks about it. Anybody and everyone who meets my mom can’t help but say, “Your mom is the nicest, best person I know.” It’s true, she is. She’s the best person to be around, and she always has been.

Mom at one of my childhood birthday parties

When you get to be my age, you intrinsically gain a deeper appreciation for emotional intelligence, seeking it out wherever you can and holding it close. With emotional intelligence comes such honesty, such genuine sincerity, and it was my mom who showed me the warmth that it brings.

She taught me that time has a way of revealing somebody’s brilliance and personal value, their capacity for openness and favor, the depth of which is never as readily apparent upon first meeting as we think it is.

These are some of the many life lessons I’ve learned from my mom from observing how she interacts with people, lessons I carry with me.

But when it comes to the candid simplicity by which she lives her life, I can only sit back and admire.

A Remarkable Way of Relating to the World

My mother’s nature, her internal peace, her uplifting way of interacting with people, her dedication to dismissing petty disagreements or dark emotions from her relationships, her happiness that emerges from her in waves and transforms anyone near her.

All of this is something I can’t help but be in awe of, but I find myself incapable of living that way; it’s just not a part of my hardwiring.

While she can shrug things off and easily make her peace with everyday hindrances, I’m prone to carrying doubt. I’m more likely to over-analyze problems, re-evaluating issues and rolling them over in my mind until I either admit defeat or concoct a thoughtful solution.

Because of our very different natures, I sometimes envy her.

My mom is never a burden, always a joy. And that’s amazing. It isn’t something that’s easy to achieve. Being that way would take me (and most people, I think) a lifetime to learn.

But my mother takes life’s struggles in stride, leaning into her resilience to rise above whatever comes her way.

Me and Mom for a family photo

Determined to Face the Sun

After her divorce, I watched her learn and teach herself many things with conviction. For the first time ever I saw her mow our lawn, which she continued to do every week. I saw her tackle household chores head-on, many of which she’d previously had help with for over a decade.

Mom was forced to re-imagine her everyday life, but I never heard her complain – not even once. Sure, there were days when she’d grow weary or even a bit resigned, but her determination to face the sun in all situations never dwindled.

I am blessed to be able to say I’ve adopted many of her traits, but I know I could never be my mom.

Mom and me, on a boat

I Am Forever Grateful

I don’t know what I’d be like if I didn’t have her, if I wasn’t raised by her incredible influence. One thing is for sure, though: I’m forever grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to look up to her all my life, and to have been shaped in this way by her inspiring presence.

I began this essay emphasizing that I could never encapsulate all that my mom is, all that she’s taught me, all that she’s been to me, in one 1,000 word essay. In the same vein, I’d like to make it clear that I could never encapsulate, in an infinite amount of essays, how much she means to me and how much I love her.

Mom and me, as adults.

“You taught me everything

Everything you’ve given me

I’ll always keep it inside

You’re the driving force in my life”

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  • Jan Jay says:

    Your mom is a wonderful individual but you are too. It’s so nice that you took the time to put all if these important feelings into words. She will cherish this like nothing else in the world. What a special son you are!

  • Mom says:

    Each time I have attempted a response to this essay, I’ve given up. There are no words that express the depth of my gratitude. I am overwhelmed by the description of impressions I’ve made. I’m embarrassed by the abundance of accolades. My most important ambition has been to be a good mom. I have drawers full of your cards and letters and endless memories of texts, emails and phone calls supporting that intention. Thank you, my precious extraordinary son, for glorifying my life’s purpose with this eloquent, heartwarming tribute. lymtl, mtcbwy, m

  • Lynn Fink says:

    I have read and reread this post numerous times. My fingers type words, but the words aren’t expressing what I am trying to say, so I hit delete and try again. I’ve experienced the same situation over and over, week after week, but my lack of acknowledgment can’t continue another day. Although I am extremely grateful for the abundance of compliments stated in this essay, this amazing man makes me aware of these sentiments constantly. To have a son who openly expresses his gratitude and love for me on a regular basis, is a tremendous gift in my life. I DO cherish the way you make my heart swell and the depth of love we share.