Joan Pearlman: The Non-Bragger

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I was raised by a tremendous mother. Loving, caring, attentive. I had a fab childhood, and a huge portion of that is due to her.

Sometimes, though, you don’t realize certain elements of a parent’s splendor until you’re older and have children of your own. And recently I’ve been pondering what may well be (in my eyes) Mom’s greatest strength: She never brags about her sons.

When I say never, I mean, well, almost never. A few years ago, she told me that someone she knew was going on and on and on and on about a kid’s achievement, and my mother—exasperated—finally said something like, “You know, my son has written his fair share of best sellers.” Otherwise, however, Mom refuses to brag about me, about my brother, about my dad, about herself. It’s simply not in her character toolbox. And it has nothing to do with a lack of pride (Hell, Mom texted me today, “We’re proud” about something), and everything to do with decorum.

Plus, Mom is in on the secret: Nobody gives a shit about your kids. It’s true. Nobody gives a shit about your kids. The big hit. The A in math. Lead role in the play. People don’t want to hear about it. Oh, they act as if they do—”Congratulations!” and “That’s amazing!” All the right words. But beneath it all, we’re generally selfish SOBs.

My mom has known this for a long time.

It makes her special.