It took me eighteen years to realize what an extraordinary influence my mother has been on my life. My mother is the kind of person who has thoughtful discussions about which artist she would most want to have her portrait painted by, the kind of mother who always has time for her two children. Since I've grown up with such a strong role model, I have gained many of her interests. I was not only eager to learn simply for the sake of knowing something new, but I also came to understand a new sense of life, love, and spirit. My mother's enthusiasm for learning is most apparent in travel. I was nine years old when my family visited England, the first time since being born, to see the rest of our family. Every night for two weeks before the trip, my older brother David and I sat with my mother on her bed reading European myths.
While I will always hold dear to me the various worlds my mother has opened to me abroad, my life has been equally transformed by what she has shown me just a couple miles from my house. As a thirteen year old, I often accompanied my mother to the Red Cross's children's cent. While she attended meetings, I helped with the Summer Program by chasing children around the building and performing magic tricks. In the five years since I first walked through the doors of the Red Cross, I have learned not only the idea of giving to others, but also of obtaining a sense of spirit from them.
While the real experiences I have had at home and abroad have been spectacular, I have learned to truly value them by watching my mother. She has nurtured...