When I left home at 17 and moved to Great Britain, I sent long letters (written in the combination of English and French that I favored at the time) home describing my new life there. Mom saved them all and gave them back to me 20 years later with the instruction to turn them into a book. I dug into the box of letters eagerly, hoping for a glimpse of a younger, more idealistic Jean, and discovered that Mom had corrected my spelling and grammar with her English teacher's red pen. I would have been offended by that at 17, but at 37, I had to laugh.
At other times, though, Mom's own civil but razor sharp tongue made me wince. While she was teaching a good-natured friend of mine to sew, I cringed to hear her say, "Don't ask stupid questions. I only want to hear intelligent ones."
Decades later, I too often open my mouth and hear my mother’s voice come out of it, shooting words like arrows straight to the heart of the target.