Jesse Hayworth
Jesse Hayworth


Jesse Hayworth

Yep, you read that right. I had a bride price. Not one set by a parental unit as a prerequisite to the act (gosh, no!), but one that my soon-to-be-husband gave my mother as a thank-you gift of sorts after he and I got engaged.

He, deeming ponies or camels to be impractical and having confirmed with me that she has always liked biking, built her what he called ‘just like a real mountain bike, only smaller’ (she’s five foot one or two, and not much more than a hundred pounds). She loved it, and over the past five years has logged many a mile on roads and cross-country tracks, alone and in company.

So much so that this past summer, after vacationing with us in Vermont and taking that little old hardtail bike up on the chair lift to ride it down like the badass grandma that she is, she let us talk her into upgrading.

I don’t have a picture of her and the new bike (she’s allergic to cameras), but here’s me and Arizona at that same mountain, to give you an idea. Make me four inches shorter, add a quarter century, and give me curly gray hair and glasses, and you’ve got Badass Grandma.

J and G top Killington 15

Which isn’t to say that she’s tearing down the slopes and doing all the jumps quite yet–like me, she’s still learning the sport. And, like me, she’s coming late to a sport that’s dominated by immortal-seeming teens doing backflips and guys like Arizona who used to be those kids and who, while they might have desk jobs and a few extra pounds now, can still pull out some sick tricks. So there are times, especially out riding on her own and working to figure out a still new-to-her bike, when it maybe feels like a bit much.

Like the other day, when she unloaded at her local trails, and a group of hardcore riders, upon seeing the Badass Grandma bike, invited her to go shred some singletrack with them. She replied that she’s still learning, and “the bike is way cooler than I am.”

To which one of the guys replied, “You’re already cooler than everyone who’s not riding these trails.”

That mattered–to her and, when I heard the story, to me. There have been lots of times in both of our lives that we’ve been the outsiders, the ones the cool kids can’t be bothered with. And even now, with most of that in our rear view mirrors, there are times …

This wasn’t one of them. Because some lifelong rider didn’t just stop with “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all,” he took it the next step to “if you have something nice to say, say it.”

Which is lovely, really. So here’s my harangue: If you’ve got something nice to say today, say it. To an author you know online, who might look like she’s got it together, but in reality is struggling to stay the course (I’m not fishing, btw. This is a general suggestion!). To a friend. To a family member. To a stranger. I plan to!

And if you’ve got a story of a time when someone said something nice to you at exactly the right time and place, I’d love to hear it 🙂

Finally, because “Awww,” here’s the next generation practicing his moves at sixteen months.

Flint bike 16 months a


21 thoughts on “My bride price pays dividends (and if you can say something nice, do it!)

  1. Jess, I love this blog! Your mom IS a total bad-ass. The most recent example of something perfect said to me was this past Mother’s Day. Princess was at college, but she sent me a card wrote in her beautiful handwriting these simple words: You are wonderful.

    Got me right in the heart. She’s clever that way. : )

    1. Awww …. this gets me right in the feels, Kristan 🙂

  2. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    I love that idea! We need to remember to compliment people.

    1. I think it’s easy to forget, when we (as women, authors, humans, what have you) tend to remember the negative comments far more strongly than the positive. But the positives, especially at just the right time and place, matter!

  3. Ann M. says:

    I love your blog. I love the idea to remember to give compliments.

    I have a great story to go with yours. I can put it here since my youngest won’t see where he might if I posted on FB.

    This last week our youngest and his girlfriend visited for a few days before starting a low paying summer internship back at UW. It was great having him home for a few days and the first time he could show off his stomping grounds. When I got home the afternoon after they left to go back to Madison, I found a card on my computer chair. It was thank you for hosting them and for all we’ve done so far for him – included paying for college thus far. I had a smile a mile wide after reading the personal note.

    1. I love this story Ann! You done good, mama 🙂

  4. Lexi Eddings Lexi Eddings says:

    It’s great to hear about your mom’s new sport! I so admire her for taking up such a strenuous activity as mountain biking. I feel like I’ve accomplished something if I just walk a mile on the treadmill. Clearly, I need a kick in the exercise pants.

    It’s wonderful that your whole family is enjoying biking together. When our kids were little, we used to go roller skating every week. Exercise and fun in one neat package.

    Thanks for the reminder to say something nice. A compliment costs us nothing and might be worth the earth to the one who hears it.

    1. I’m torn between awe and terror, to be honest. She’s a warrior, that’s for sure, but neither of us bounces like we used to!

  5. What a great guy that rider must have been! I love this reminder to speak up and spread goodwill. You’re so right…you never know when someone might be needing a positive word a lot more than they’re showing. <3

    1. I agree! Too often, I assume everyone else but me has their stuff together … 😉

  6. Dalton Diaz says:

    Love your mom! She’s all kinds of down-to-earth awesomeness!

    1. She thinks the same of you!

  7. What a great story, Jesse! Your mom sounds amazing. Good for that guy for sharing a kind word. That’s something I’d like to do more often, even if I’m feeling shy.

    One of my favorite kindnesses ever came from my daughter. When she was about 5, she left a note in my office that said (in crooked, giant kid handwriting), “I love you just the way you are.” She just wanted to tell me that! She doesn’t even know the Billy Joel song. 😉

    1. I love this! Your daughter clearly has a great heart–learned from Mom, no doubt!

  8. Lisa Hutson says:

    What a terrific post!! Love it.
    When our oldest son was about 7 months old, we decided to go out and he would stay with my parents. February in Illinois. First time we left him anywhere. Picked him up at about 8 pm to get back home. As I bundled him up, I whispered to him softly, “I am sorry for doing this to you, sweetheart. Its so cold out. I am so sorry.”
    My mom heard me and she scolded, “You have nothing at all to feel guilty about. He will be just fine. You deserve to go out sometimes too. You must take care of yourself too.”
    I have always thought that was such a sweet thing to say. It took me, oh, about 25 years or so to learn the lesson she was teaching. haha But I have always remembered it.

    1. Awwww, I heart that story. Both because I can see myself making a similar apology, and because she was so right about self care. (At least in theory, lol.)

  9. Dawn A says:

    Wow, your mom sounds like an awesome lady.
    I try to say nice things daily, even if it’s to a stranger and I hope it makes their day better.

  10. Eileen A-W says:

    I love your story and wish I was brave like your bad-ass mom.

    My story came a few weeks ago on my birthday. One of my former students postedthis wonderful tribute to me on my facebook timeline. She talked baout how I wouldn’t let her give up and how I made her like Math and how I explain in ways so it made sense to her. She went on to say how I gave her the confidence to believe in herself and know that she could conquer anything she tried. It brought tears to my eyes. Another couple of former students also chimed in with similar comments. It’s exactly what this retired teacher needed to remind her that she did make a difference in her students lives not matter what anyone says.

  11. Lorelei says:

    When I post or write anything I try to avoid using don’t and no, and try to rephrase positively, like If you have something nice to say, say it! I love this post because of that! Way to go, to your mom and the guy!
    I really have great author friends! I try to always focus on the good traits of the people I interact with each day, and I also feel the love in their comments. You’ve started my day on such a positive note. I’m so happy this was the first article I read this morning! Thank you for sharing!
    A story to share is I’m going to call my mom’s doctor today and tell him thank you for saying to her “You are beautiful! ” I asked my mom if he said you look beautiful (because of her new haircut) , and she said no, that “I AM”! This has lifted her spirits since she’s constantly going for treatment, and it takes a toll on her some days.
    Amazing the power of kind words!

  12. Carolyn Sullivan says:

    Great blog, Jess.

    I find your mother inspiring.

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