May 9th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #475 "My mother's wisdom"

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: The president issued a proclamation in praise of mothers. So in turn I am issuing a letter doing the same…sort of.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/05/05/obama.immigration.reform/smlvid.obama.cinco.gi.jpg]

Dear Mr. President,

So here we are at Mother’s Day again; your second one as President of the United States. I know it must always be an odd time for you, with your mother having passed away so long ago. That’s kind of how I feel about Father’s Day now, with my dad gone.

But my mother is still around, and as I’ve told you before, I talk with here pretty much every few days and it’s always pleasant. She has a good sense of humor and an easy-going manner. You’d like her.

She has also, over the years, often helped me through difficult times with not only her kind words and generous ways, but also a pretty steady supply of little sayings that seem to apply to an endless stream of situations. I thought today, I’d pass a few on to you in case they might prove helpful. I have no idea where most of them came from, and she’d be the first to say she was not the originator; but somehow hearing her repeat them over and over has made me feel as if they are hers. At least, I can’t imagine anyone else saying them.

One of her favorites had to do with having principles. “You have to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” She still says that when she feels someone is displaying a noticeable lack of spine or character.

When I would get upset over something as a young boy (for instance when I asked an absolutely stunning young beauty to the middle school Spring Dance and I was turned down like a dirty collar,) she would say, “It’s ok to cry. Remember all sunshine and no rain makes a dessert.”

She has always loved the Prayer of Serenity: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Although she never much liked it when I added at the end, “And the presence of mind to shoot the witnesses.”

Some of her sayings were for adults, and puzzled me a bit as a boy, but they have made more sense as I’ve grown older, like, “You can always tell what people think of you, by the way their children treat you.” And “You can’t get away with anything in a small town.” And “He calls himself a preacher. My foot!” And “I swear you’ll be late to your own funeral, Tom!” Well, I guess those last two had a little more specific application than the others, but still they were right on point at the time.

I’m not sure any of these will aid in the “ruling the free world” game, but to borrow another of her favorites, “You never know.”

Happy Mother’s Day to you and your family. Hope it is lovely.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.