Every good quality I have is because of my mom. I incessantly tease her about my childhood, to her, to my classes, to my boys and basically anyone who will listen. She was strict and my husband claims that I grew up in a cave, but that cave was full of unconditional love, pure hearts and the best intentions. Did I get to watch MTV, wear red nail polish or call boys? Absolutely. Not. Did I give her a lot of attitude, rolling my eyes and being disrespectful? Way. Too. Often. I don’t regret that I missed out seeing ‘Flashdance’ or numerous sitcoms, in fact the older I get, the more I appreciate that cave. I’ve made a list of just a few of the things she taught me.
- Work Hard. She was up before all of us kids, cleaning, cooking and reading her Bible. Not only did she teach us to work hard by example, she expected it of us as well. There are no free rides in this world and if you want something, you need to work hard to earn it. Pretty simple.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt. I have to confess that I can be somewhat critical of others at times, mostly related to manners and bad behavior. I often wish bad karma on rude people, but not my mom. It’s not that she doesn’t notice the behavior, she has to see it. She chooses to change her focus, though, and quickly reminds me that none of us are perfect. Truth.
- Admit mistakes and apologize. There is something so freeing about apologizing. I’m not saying it’s always easy to do, but it feels so good. I’ll never forget the first time my mom apologized to me. It made me realize we’re all human, we all make mistakes and that’s how we learn and grow. Be quick to apologize and always sincerely.
- Forgive. Unlike my mom, I have a tendency to hold a grudge. I’m a Taurus and stubborn by nature, so that’ my excuse, but harboring hurt mostly damages me. I need to live like my mom and forgive quickly, forgive and forget. It’s a healthy habit that I’m still trying to practice. Baby steps.
- Use your gifts. My mom is so good at pointing out the gifts in her kids. My siblings have real talents and gifts, while she reminds me that I bring the fun. I’d prefer to have talents in other areas, but if that’s what I’ve got, I better not waste it. When I find myself tempted to complain about something to someone, I often think of this. You don’t bring the fun if you gossip and complain. Her words have had a huge impact with me.
- Quiet your spirt and pray daily. I’m a worrier by nature and need to take this lesson from my mom. We don’t need to be going full speed all the time and some quiet reflection is a good thing. So many things are out of my control, so it’s better to just pray about it and let it go.
- Don’t make excuses. My mom didn’t allow a little thing like cancer get in the way of my teenage years. Chemotherapy would have been a good excuse to miss school and skip sports, but not with my mom. She took me to treatments, practices, swim meets and made sure I kept a normal life. Live the life you want, don’t settle with excuses.
- Stay humble. My mom is annoyingly humble. You give her a compliment and it’s immediately deflected. I appreciate that she passed this on to her kids and I try to pass it on to my boys. Don’t brag about stuff, just go out and be amazing.
My best friends are my siblings. I love family time and cherish every holiday we get to spend together. I know that’s not the case with every family and I feel incredibly fortunate. There’s one reason we’re tight knit- my mom. She taught us to love each other fiercely, protect each other and just be there for one another. I might tease about my childhood cave, but it made me who I am and I wouldn’t change a thing, except the attitude I gave my mom. I didn’t realize how lucky I was at the time, but I most certainly do now. I appreciate my mom’s work ethic, her convictions and her spirit and hope that I can, in just small ways, emulate her.