My mom has supported pretty much everything I’ve ever done. Some good things, some bad things, all decidedly not “mom” things. I have distinct memories of her driving me to Sally Beauty supply to buy red, green, and blue hair dye during my high school punk rock phase. She encouraged my third grade choice to pick up the violin despite absolutely no prior interest in music beforehand. Her soccer sideline war cry – a British homage to Xena: Warrior Princess – rose high above the other moms cheering on the team. Whatever random hobby or sport or occult dabbling I pursued and perused, my mom was right there to say, “sure, sounds fun, what do you need?”
But as I’ve done that maturity thing, moved onto and into my own life of paychecks and mortgage and marriage, it’s been harder for my mom to stay in touch with my hobbies. She used to see me everyday, was party to my ups and downs, joys and woes, tastes and distastes as if she was a living part of my psyche. But now she only sees me through our occasional visits, my smattering of social media updates, and these blog posts. Her connection to my interests isn’t as strong as it was when I was still dependent on her for cash and car, but her passion in supporting me has not waned at all.
Last week she showed up at my house with a random six-pack, hoping, with that adorable anticipating look only a mom can give, that I’d never tried the bottles she’d journeyed to find especially for me. As I can barely keep track of my own progress in the impossibly massive offering of beer in this country, I couldn’t well expect her to know exactly what I’ve tried over the years. But she managed, probably using that inborn maternal instinct, to find 4 out of 6 that I’d never gotten my grubby little beer-mitts on.
She went out of her way, in the only way she really could, to acknowledge that she still supports what I do, even though it has long evolved past skateboarding and Operation Ivy. She wants me to know, on even the most basic level, that she’s there to help me in anyway she can. It all may sound like something expected of a mother, but my mom has this ability to make the smallest gesture – like 72 ounces of beer in a cardboard conveyor – echo and resound into the deepest corners of my soul.
A lot of us chase hobbies that aren’t exactly mainstream. Writers are often chided for “wasting time” on something that doesn’t matter, or they’ll never do anything with. Beer enthusiasts are often just equated with educated drunks. A person who writes about beer…I don’t even want to know what they say about me.
But there’s my mom, not judging, not caring, finding me new beers to try in an attempt to make me happy. Despite not knowing anything about beer, she knows everything about me.
So raise your glasses to all the beer moms, beer wives, beer brothers and sisters, beer friends. All those people who support you in whatever it is that makes you happy, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. It’s these people, those constant champions, the unwavering stars in the northern skies of our minds, that light the way when we get lost in the sprawling dark of self-doubt.
And when you’re fearing that snarling beast and your dreams feel wet and heavy, remember that someone, somewhere, is gently cradling a bottle, wondering if you’ve tried it.