Sometimes after one of my stories gets posted on Facebook, I like to read the comments. This practice goes against the ‘Never, Ever Read The Comments’ rule I use while I’m off the clock, but I think it’s important to take note of reader feedback, no matter how mean it might be.
When I read the comments under my story about kayaking the Salinas River back in January, I expected to find the typical internet trolls — the angry creatures usually found lurking in this region of Facebook. There were a few negative comments, but I was pleasantly surprised that overall most were positive. One comment in particular stood out.
“So well written, entertaining, and best of all, his enthusiasm is refreshing.”
That’s so nice, I thought. Then I looked at the name — it was my mom.
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I laughed out loud. That’s so like her. Using her re-marriage and subsequent new last name to form the perfect cover to become a reverse internet troll.
The next time we spoke on the phone I asked her about it. She laughed, too.
“You don’t know how many times I have had to resist!” she said. “I’m usually very good and won’t write anything, but this time I couldn’t help it. It was just so good.”
“Thanks, Mom,” I said.
She conceded it wasn’t the first time she had done it, but she assured me no one would ever know it was the mother of the author. She doesn’t have the same last name, after all.
My mom has been my biggest fan since Day 1. Whether I was in school, in sports or when I was trying to learn to play the violin, she was always positive, loving and the first person to cheer me on no matter how bad I was. Even though I’m now in my 30s, work for a media company and haven’t played an instrument in 25 years, to her I’m still that little boy in need of a little encouragement.
Most of my life I’ve just rolled my eyes every time she throws compliments my way. To be honest, she is so positive and encouraging that sometimes it’s hard to tell when she really means it and when she is just being nice. But as I have grown older, I see just how lucky I am to have her, along with a loving dad. It’s nice to know that no matter what happens in my life, or how crappy a story I may write, she will be right there in the comment section cheering me on.
Mom, I know you’re reading this on your iPad in North Georgia. I know I never tell you how I feel and I don’t call enough, but it’s time for me to brag about you for once:
It’s your enthusiasm that is refreshing — and your optimism, compassion and willingness to see the good in everyone is inspiring. Your love has been the strongest and most consistent force in my life and I thank you for it. So go ahead, comment away. I won’t be embarrassed. You’re the reason I’m able to write in the first place.