|When she opens her mouth, she does so wisely; on her tongue is kindly instruction.|
|She keeps good watch on the conduct of her household, no bread of idleness for her.|
|Her children stand up and proclaim her blessed, her husband, too, sings her praises:|
|Many women have done admirable things, but you surpass them all!'|
By age 31, Dorsey Price Salerno had borne four children, me being the youngest. She lost two babies after me, and then developed thyroid cancer. Somehow, she survived the losses and the cancer, raised us with my dad in the New York suburbs and then went back to school for her master's degree in French Literature (all while living in a home with four teenagers, each about a year apart in age from one another, yikes). As we were growing up, she sewed many of our Halloween costumes and back-to-school dresses in a sewing room she set up in our basement. Long before it was popular, she bought skim milk and whole-wheat bread and she made us yogurt from scratch.
My mom is multilingual, speaking English, Spanish, French and Italian.
During her long retirement, she has written novels, (www.dorseysalerno.com) attended the birth of my first son, learned the piano (though she jokes she has been playing the same tunes for 10 years), knit more sweaters and blankets for children and grandchildren than I can count, (see below, my mom at their Florida home) and traveled many times with my dad to Latin America and Europe.
She has a dry wit. She is a lifelong learner with great curiousity about the world in front of her. She taught me that big people talk about ideas and small people gossip. She has never, ever said an unkind thing to me about my father or any of her children.
You know when you find yourself talking like your mom? That happens all the time now. Here are a few gems.
When my children are criticizing someone "More to be pitied than scorned."
During a rough day or week: "This too shall pass;"
About a misplaced item: "It will turn up. It always does."
And when a child sasses: "It's not what you say, it's how you say it."
She and I have an uncanny way of reading the same books at the same time. A few years ago, when I mentioned I was reading the medieval text "The Interior Castle," I discovered she was, too.
These past few months, as she has lovingly cared for my ailing, homebound father, she and I have shared conversations about Dostoyevsky and Graham Greene, Gilgamesh and Caravaggio.
Happy Birthday Mom. I love you so much!