Where to begin with my mom? Laurie Armstrong Cooper is an incredibly special woman. No amount of words I could speak could begin to thank her for the things she's done for me. I'll try, in some small part, nonetheless.
My mom is an English professor at l'Université de Moncton, and I have not met a student of hers that doesn't love her. I've had more than one of her former students tell me how much her guidance meant to them during a difficult time in their lives, some of them going so far as to say she was like a mother to them. This isn't out of the ordinary for Laurie Cooper--this is an everyday occurrence. Any time I'm in public with her, she will stop to wave to someone, then turn to me to explain, "student". Most times I can guess that on my own. She remembers all of her students and they all have a special place with her. It's inspiring to see. I even took classes with her in some of my early years of university. A lot of people asked me if this was awkward or weird, and it never was. Even if she did sometimes tease me for some of my obviously BS-ed exam answers...
She wasn't always a professor, though. When I was growing up, she'd often take odd jobs in order to
|A picture Mom took of a peony in front of my house.|
Both of my parents, in a lot of ways, made up for a childhood that would have otherwise been very difficult. While I was teased and bullied for the way I looked, my parents were building me up and encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Everyone has some kind of struggle growing up, and I'm glad that through it all, I had a great relationship with both of them that kept me going. School was hard, but at least I got to go home at the end of the day. Likely I wouldn't be writing in this blog today without their early encouragement.
My mom is also one of my best friends. I really feel like I can--and I often do--tell her anything, and she always listens without judging. We meet at least once a week for coffee or breakfast and if we had more time, I'm sure we could talk for hours on end. She is incredibly supportive of everything I do, and doesn't discourage me, even when my dreams are bigger than reality, and even if my expectations are sometimes selfish or unrealistic.
One of the things that always stuck with me about Mom was how she would get interested in my interests. I gamed a lot growing up, and not only would she come to watch me playing these games, she would join in, too. To this day, her favourite is still Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and when I go to visit on holidays, sometimes I'll hear the music playing in the other room and I'll know she's started up a new game. On road trips, we used to take turns playing Pokémon Pinball on my GameBoy Colour.
My mom is proof that you don't have to choose between being a parent and a friend--that you can be both simultaneously, and when your child gets old enough to leave the house, you will have a lifelong friend with no further discipline necessary. I only hope that I can be even a fraction of the mother my mom is.
I love you, mom. Happy birthday.