Becoming a mother has been one of the most rewarding (awful), magical (terrifying), and amazing things that has ever happened to me. I cannot even begin to fully explain the range of emotions that it fills me with every single day.
It also gives me a whole new appreciation for my own mother. I see things so much differently now. It’s as though I’ve moved across the street. The view is still familiar– I know this house, and these neighbors, but I see them in an entirely different way.
My greatest hope, my greatest aspiration as a mother, is that someday my own daughters will feel the same way about me as I do about her. For that reason, I try and learn from the most important lessons she has taught me:
- Be kind – my mother is one of the kindest people that I know. She may even be the kindest person that I know. She makes friends with little old ladies in the restroom at the mall (no matter how many times I tell her not to talk to strangers). Her heart is big and always giving. She doesn’t say, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you” but instead says,“ What I can do to help?” If you’re sick, sad, or hurt she is usually there with some words of encouragement, fresh fruit, or a bottle of wine (and if you’re really lucky, all three).
- Tell people that you are proud of them – nothing makes me feel more like I’m on the right path than when my mother tells me that she’s proud of me. I try and remember this when talking to the people that I love. It is for this reason I tell my husband I’m proud of him whenever I can (honey, I will tell you that I am proud of you every day until we are dead if you can get your goddamn dirty clothes into the hamper EVERY DAY). I tell my oldest daughter how proud I am of her all the time. She thinks that an octopus is a dog and barks at squirrels, so I’m not sure how much of it is actually getting through to her, but I still tell her. My youngest, well I mainly just fawn all over her poops because she doesn’t really do much else
- Time passes no matter what – my mother returned to college in her thirties. It was a bold move at the time since she was also trying to raise children and work full time. She always said that the time was going to pass no matter what. It didn’t matter that she was starting over at thirty and may not have a degree until she was forty. She was going to turn forty regardless, she may as well do it with a degree. I think about this all the time. How brave it was to go back to school at that point in her life knowing that it was going to take forever to see any reward for all her hard work.
- Have a sense of humor – Life is hard. It is quite possibly the hardest thing ever (giggity). A well placed, “that’s what she said” or perfectly timed “your mama” can make all the difference. Obviously there are things that are sacred that we don’t laugh about it. I assure you, there are like, two things. Most everything else is fair game and sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying.
- Admit when you’re wrong and say sorry – It takes a big person to apologize, and an even bigger person to say that they are wrong. As someone that is wrong often, I KNOW BOTH OF THESE THINGS.
- Red wine is delicious – I was one of those people that never liked red wine and preferred sweet white wines. My mother kept insisting that all I really needed was a good steak and a glass of red wine and I would forget all about sweet whites. As she is about most things, she was right. You may not see the life changing importance of this lesson, but I assure you, it’s there.
- It’s okay to fail – Just because you fail at something it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. I have failed at so many things in my life (and will undoubtedly continue to do so), but I know that doesn’t make me a failure. You can’t have success without reaching further than you have before. It doesn’t always work out for the best and that is okay.
- Be kind to yourself – It’s okay to take time for you. My mother introduced me to the “mental health day”. Sometimes you just need to play hooky and clear your head. Or spend the extra ten bucks and get the really good bottle of wine (we obviously take our wine very seriously in this family). You can’t be any good to anyone else until you are good to yourself first. Forgive yourself. She would probably also like for me to forgive others too, but F that noise, I’m a grudge holder… that must come from my dad’s side.
Honestly, all these things don’t even begin to scratch the surface. She has taught me so much, more then I will probably never even fully realize. Chances are that your mother has too. This Mother’s Day remember that.
Everything that you are today your mother had a hand in making. Good or bad, your mother probably did everything that she could for you. Tell her that you love her today, and every day that you have a chance to. You may not always be around to say it, and she may not always be around to hear it.
I love you mom, thank you for making me the woman and mother that I am today. I hope that I am like you in as many ways as possible.
And to any other mothers that are reading this, you have done a great job.
Happy Mother’s Day!