Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip


My best teacher was my mom.

She taught me about manners, and generosity, and treating others kindly. She taught me how to play 500 (she was a rockstar at that game), how to make ice cream pie, and how to do laundry. She taught me how to pray, how to talk to others, and how to sing incorrect song lyrics. Seriously, I still don’t know what a heebeejeebee is.

She taught me it’s okay to laugh and it’s okay to cry.

But the greatest gift my mom every gave me was perspective.

It was the realization that you can be happy if you choose to be happy. It was the fact that no matter how bad you have it, someone else has it worse. It was not knowing all the answers, but always looking for ways to make things better. It was perpetual positivity.

There is no glass half empty or glass half full. There is just a glass, and you put what you want into it.

My mom was happy until the end. She never complained, never wondered why this happened to her, and through it all worried about how we were doing.

It takes a special person to stay positive through tough times. Although it takes a very special person to talk to a wrong number for 20 minutes (she had done that before too!).

Here's my favorite mom story ever...

It was just between us two and I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. To my friends, it’s simply known as Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

We were shopping at a local shopping mall in the winter. We parked near Sears and had to walk through it to get to the mall. On the way out, I saw someone who worked there that I knew, and didn’t feel like talking to at the time. I looked at my mom and said, “Okay, how are we going to do this?” Without hesitation, my mom said, “We need code words.” I almost lost it right there.

My mom saying, “we need code words” was the equivalent to me saying, “No thanks, I don’t want any more cake.” You never saw it coming.

So we came up with a plan.

I was going to weave through the store, Frogger-style, with my mom shouting “code words” when I should go left or right. In retrospect, I could have taken a different door out, but this was way more fun.

“Okay mom, what are the code words?”

“If you should go left, I’ll say chocolate chip.

“And what if I need to go right?”

“Peanut butter.”

So, the plan began.

I started walking through an aisle and all of a sudden heard my mom screaming, “Peanut butter!, Peanut butter!, Peanut butter!”

I went to the right and walked DIRECTLY in front of the person I did not want to talk to.

But I was okay, because he never saw me. He was too busy staring at this crazy woman yelling “Peanut butter” in the middle of Sears.

We got to the exit and we both stopped. We were laughing hysterically at this point. My mom looked at me and said, “Where were you going? I said peanut butter and you went chocolate chip.”

“No. Peanut butter is right, chocolate chip is left.”

By this time, people were staring at us because I think we were hyperventilating near the doors.

We walked out to the parking lot and I started going the wrong way. My mom looked at me and deadpanned, “Hey BR, the car is to the peanut butter.”

Until the very end, my mom still thought peanut butter was to the left.

It’s okay to laugh and it’s okay to cry.

I hope you find your Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

And remember, perspective is everything.

Thanks Mom.

Talk soon,

Bryan Skavnak