Dear Phinnaeus and Marigold, this is a picture of your mother, taken when she graduated from high school, and she was not much older than you are now. She will probably be upset with me for putting her picture on my blog, but I wanted you to see who she is. She graduated at the top of her class, by the way. In fact, she was at the top of her class all the way from grade one until she graduated from university with her Master's degree. She won numerous scholarships, including one of the most prestigious scholarships her university offers, and she was highly respected by her professors and her peers. Your mother is not only very intelligent, but she is very, very funny with a wonderful sense of humour. Everyone loves her sense of humour. Someone once suggested your mother should have her laugh tape-recorded, and the recording played for people when they are feeling sad.
Phinnaeus and Marigold, you should know that one of the most interesting things about your mother is that she walks to the beat of a different drummer. The expression comes from a quote by Henry David Thoreau, "If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away." Basically, it means that you cannot make your mother into something that she is not. People have tried. It doesn't work. She has tried, and it just frustrates her. She will never be ordinary. Gambie recognized that fact when your mother was just a little girl. She has inherited the DNA of all the unique, unconventional and slightly eccentric people in our family tree.
You may never understand or appreciate how lucky you are, Phinnaeus and Marigold. Your mother was never the type of woman who was concerned about "yellow waxy buildup" on her kitchen floor, or whose only perspective on life was the view from her kitchen sink. There are people who wanted nothing more than that from her, and it made her very angry and almost killed her spirit.
Your mother is the person who has taught you about art and literature and music and travel and history and science and philosophy, and so much more. You have no idea how fortunate you are to have had that experience from such a knowledgeable, well-educated person. Your mother is the person who has sparked your intellectual curiosity and encouraged you to follow your talents, and for that you should be grateful. There is a huge world out there with all sorts of people, and you have to accept people as they are, and not make the mistake of trying to turn them into something you think they should be. Accept their eccentricities; because those are what make them interesting. You are both on the edge of adulthood, and you are still not yet old enough to realize what an amazing person your mother is, but one day you will, and you will be very proud of her. I guarantee it.