Although it might sound cliched, the person who has influenced me the most is one that I grew up with, right at home, an unpretentious homemaker, i.e. my mother. Always there for me when I needed her, she was and continues to be the most caring person that I know; I say this not just from personal experiences with her, but also observing her in her interactions with others in the family and neighborhood. I had no trouble approaching her with any of my growing pains and left the room after talking to her in a most agreeable disposition, thanks to her incredibly innovative solutions to my problems, ranging from, "forget it, love" or "you've just got to live with it, darling"! What mattered was she heard me out and was one I could rely on to do that at any time of day or night.
Now that I am on my own and having to deal with three children of my own, I often wonder if I am doing justice to them in my role as mom as she did so effortlessly. I get the feeling that there are times when my temperament does wild pendulum swings and that I am somewhat inconsistent in my approach to rearing them due to a variety of circumstances. How did she do it? To paraphrase lines from an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem, The Courage that My Mother Had...I wish mum could pass on those precious motherly qualities to me as heirlooms rather than her jewelry and antiques, so I could have them naturally.
If I asked her, she'd probably say, "You’re doing just fine, dear...keep at it", in her inimitably reassuring style. And so, I continue to watch and learn and let her be the person that perennially influences me the most. Maybe if I hope to reach for the skies, I'll get a fistful of moondust... at the very least.