David Trinko: A son’s words in defense of one tough mother

Sometimes I’ll bump into someone who meets my mother and tells me about the exchange.

Apparently she delights in telling people about my work, my family and my life. I hear she’ll go on and on about the latest thing going on in the lives of me and my six siblings.

I say apparently because I don’t usually hear these positive things directly from my mom. I tend to hear about my shortcomings and where I can improve as a man, a father and a boss.

At least that’s what I hear.

I have no doubt my mother loves me. I believe she wants me to succeed in faith, life and work. I just don’t hear it directly from her.

For many years, that agitated me. I always felt closer to my dad. It seemed like I’d disappointed my mom somehow while doing my best and exceeding my own expectations in life. It motivated me to do more and be more.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, I want to acknowledge my own mom for giving me exactly what I needed over all those years.

Without me even knowing it, she encouraged me to work harder and strive for perfection. She taught me to demand the most in people, sometimes more than they believe they can do.

That’s made me a demanding supervisor at work, expecting the same kind of effort in everything that I put into things. That’s led to frequent repetition of phrases like “good enough isn’t good enough” or “anything worth doing is worth doing right.”

I’m not a clone of my mother. We’re all our own people, bringing our own personalities and idiosyncrasies to what we do. While we share a biting wit, I’ve developed a bit of absurdist humor that makes the third- and fourth-graders I coach giggle.

My mom helped me to see the parts of her personality in me that I don’t necessarily like. I’ve learned to keep my temper in check. I’ve gotten better at calmly listening to people until they were done talking, instead of firing back responses at them. I’m a work in progress, like we all are.

While I might’ve liked a few more attaboys or pats on the back along my journey, I wouldn’t have traveled as far when I got them. I’m grateful for what I learned from her. I’m glad to know she’s reading this column and will likely tell someone else about it.

So here’s to the mothers who might be a bit tougher on us than we liked at the time. Here’s to the mothers who showed us love in a way we didn’t understand at the time. Here’s to my mother, who helped make me who I am, and I’m grateful for that.


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

Subscribe to the Trinko Thinks So podcast at LimaOhio.com/podcasts.

David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.