The thing I learned the most from my mother is don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t say you’re going to do something “when the kids grow up.” Don’t say, “I’m going to go to Hong Kong once you guys are out of school.” Because she got pancreatic cancer at seventy-two, and he never did any of it. The gift she gave me was a residue of her death. Don’t ever wait to satisfy an idea or a hope or a dream.
If you’re sick, watch funny movies.
We were watching the black-and-white TV in the living room at the farm in Illinois. And toward the end of this movie, there were steps that went up to the Capitol in Washington—you know that big set of steps—and a guy was walking up the steps with his child. And she said, “Well, how will know?” referring to when I’m in love and it’s right. And the father said, “Don’t worry; you’ll know.” And I remember asking as a little kid, “What does he mean, ‘don’t worry, you’ll know’?” And my mother said, “You’ll just know. So don’t worry. When the right moment comes, you’re gonna know.” And this eight-and-a-half-year-old memory never left me. Those words, “Don’t worry, you’ll know,” became monumental words of my existence. They’ve followed me to every corner of my life: into work situations, to every conversation with my kid that was wonderful, into the voting booth.