Things My Mother Taught Me

Mom and I have had our share of rough times. We’re so much alike that we often suffer the magnet problem. Growing up I wanted us to be like Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, but often felt it was impossible. Fortunately, I was wrong. We still have our fights, but my mom is one of my best friends. I know I can count on her for anything, but more than that I simply like hanging out with her. She can drive me crazy but she’s fun.

I’m also really proud of her. She was a single, teenage parent and raised me and B to be successful, independent women. I’m closer to 30 than 20 and still wonder how I’d ever handle being a parent and I have Danny! I can’t imagine the stress, doubts and loneliness she experienced doing it all on her own. She did an amazing job and I hope that I can be as good of a mother one day. Since Mom loves to tell people I never give her credit for anything, I figure I will publicly for all eternity share the greatest lessons she has taught me.

Like Yourself
Every card I have from my mom includes a list of lovely adjectives to describe me. These words include beautiful, brilliant, kind, thoughtful, etc. Even during our worst fights I’ve never doubted how great I was. It’s a special gift to not have those kinds of doubts. It’s not that I think I’m perfect – far from it. But I do know that I have value and I must maintain that value and work to increase it.

Never settle
B and I are too lame to do anything rebellious – no dating, drinking, sneaking out, I still haven’t seen drugs. We got all A’s and worked during high school and college. Nevertheless, this didn’t give us an easy ride. When we would get in trouble and remind Mom how lucky she was to have good kids, she’d tell us not to compare ourselves to the lowest common denominator. This is massively annoying as a teen; however, it pays off in the long run. We know what we are capable of and we never settle for less – even if it’s better than the majority.

Focus on the Good
I had one of those ‘I’m turning into my mom’ moments last summer when Danny and I were on our summer vacation. Danny planned for us to get pictures of the sunset at the State Park but when he realized it would require a walk through wood trails to get to Lake Michigan he was ready to call it quits (and sulk). We could hear the lake and had GPS so I Googled a beach front location that was the most peaceful place I’ve ever visited. It was exactly what Mom would have done. It’s easy to be dejected and throw up your hands but you accomplish nothing that way and you aren’t happier for it. As a dramatic child, I often sought pity but that was not mom’s thing. I’m so glad it wasn’t because I’m much better off for it. Now when I’m struggling with a hard time I only let it get me down so much because I know things will improve eventually. I do sulk but I make sure to strategize and figure out what I need to do to improve my situation.

Make Good Choices
“The choices you make dictate the life you lead.” This quote from the Renaissance Man is burned into my brain. I’ve heard it over and over again for decades. I had no choice but to live by the mantra and I’m so glad I do. The actions I take are always purposeful and I live with no regret. There are inevitably moments I wish I could change, things I would or wouldn’t have said, movies I wish I hadn’t watched but I’ll happily keep those small pitfalls for my current life. I’m happier than I could ever imagine and am exactly where I want to be.

Good and bad, challenging and not so challenging, my mom gave me all the tools I needed to be the person I am today and I’m very grateful for that.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I love you xoxo

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