Today’s lessons from my mother barely scratch the surface. I was lucky enough to be raised by my mother and father in the most loving and supportive home imaginable, and I will be forever grateful for the lessons learned about the love, commitment, sacrifice and good humor necessary to raise a family.
Me and my Mother
Lesson #1: sometimes it’s OK not to tell. My parents marriage has been a lifelong inspiration to my brothers and me. They raised us through a clear partnership, never undermining the other or shirking responsibility. My father is an incredibly kind man, who managed my teenage-daughter tendencies with more patience than I ever deserved. My father is also fiscally conservative, and much smarter than I. He tried (is still trying, really) to instill the same values in me, and teach me to be smart with my money. My parents, as a team, worked hard to ensure my brothers and I had everything we could ever need, while simultaneously teaching us how to make good financial decisions. When my mother made an exorbitant purchase, it was usually my fault. And my mother taught me that it was OK to keep those purchases a secret. 🙂
Like every prom, for instance, when my mother repeatedly told me to not tell dad the cost of my dress (or dresses, as was the case one year). And every back-to-school shopping trip, when my mother spoiled me. I’m pretty sure every receipt from those trips was hidden from my father, just to spare him the trauma.
Mom- I’m not sure if this was a good or bad lesson, because occasionally I find myself ‘hiding’ the occasional purchase from my future hubby. But I guess we can agree to keep the secrets (well, since I’m blogging about this now, I guess the cat’s out of the bag…). What I’m really trying to say is- thanks, Mom, for buying me pretty things. (And thanks, Dad, for pretending not to be upset and telling me I looked beautiful).
Lesson #2: don’t be afraid to try new things. My mom put her career on hold to devote her time to raising my brothers and me. As an adult, I finally appreciate the sacrifices that my mother made, personally and financially, to care for her family. Once we were all old enough to look out for ourselves a bit, my mom made the decision to go back to school and become a teacher. Of anybody that I know, my mother was truly destined to teach. She is one of those inspiring teachers whose students remember for a lifetime- and one of the reasons I chose to become a teacher myself.
One of my mother’s greatest traits is her willingness, and eagerness, to continue learning and growing herself. My mom embraces new technology, ideas, and opportunities, and is not afraid to jump into the deep end and figure things out as she goes along. (Speaking figuratively, as one thing my mom did not learn- and likely never will- is how to swim).
My mother’s drive and commitment to her own academic, personal and career growth is an inspiration to me.
Lesson # 3: it’s ok to cry… but try not to.
For as long as I can remember, my mother has always firmly asserted her strength and ability to maintain her composure. If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you that she never cries. I am here today to tell you that she is flat-out lying.
Maybe when we were younger, it was true. My mom has a sarcastic edge at times, and does not necessarily wear her emotions on her sleeve. Yet my mother rarely leaves a wedding, graduation, concert, or chick flick with dry eyes. Usually, the louder her assertions that she will not cry, the faster the tears will flow.
I cry all the time. I cry watching the Today Show in the morning. I cry watching Friends re-runs. I cry when people around me cry. I cry when people talk about crying. I’ve always been a crier- I’ve always been a little bit sappy. I’ve learned from my mother that pretending to be tough doesn’t really change anything- things are still going to make you feel sad, or happy, or simply just emotional. The important thing is that your family and friends get you- and love you either way. Whether your a crier who owns it (me) or a crier & denier (mom)… it’s all good.
Lesson #4: be a good friend. My mother is a great friend. She has maintained long and wonderful friendships with many people. Because my mother is still close with her best friend from high school, I look to her as an example of how to be a good friend. My mom makes it a priority to find the time to spend with her friends. She is a thoughtful gift giver, a listening ear on the telephone, and a gracious host to friends for lunch or coffee. Growing up, I observed my mother’s close friendships and learned the importance of being a good friend from her.
I love that my mother’s friends are such an important part of my own life. I know, as people change, move, and have families, that life can get in the way. Friendship is something that requires effort on two sides- though the work you put in is repaid tenfold. I learned through observation the importance of friendship, from watching my mother my whole life. I take inspiration from her strong connections- with both old friends and new- and aspire to be the kind of friend she is.
My mother still has lots more to teach me. Next week, we have a sewing lessons scheduled (since I did not pay attention the first time around). Someday, my mom will have to teach me just how to be the amazing mother she is.
This Mother’s Day, mom, I want to thank you for these lessons and more. You are a daily inspiration to me, and both an amazing mother and friend. You deserve to enjoy a very special day today. I love you!