My mom and I are close. We look alike and we act alike. We organize our kitchens the same way, we both love a junk drawer, and at church, we both tilt our heads slightly to the right in prayer. As a child, I always loved her handwriting, and I attempted, without success, to copy her elegant, loopy style. My mom and I are also very different, because I am my father’s daughter.
My dad had a sharp, dry, and sometimes biting sense of humor. He found great delight in the absurdities of life, and some of my favorite memories are of laughing with him about things that others didn’t find nearly as funny as we did. My dad was instrumental in shaping my personality, while my mother dominated the hell out of the genes race. To be sure, I am an interesting example of nature vs nurture.
I often wonder what my kids will take away from their childhood. Will they remember the lessons that I think are most important? Or are they locking away life lessons that I’m not even aware I’m teaching? I have vivid memories of my mother telling me something I knew at the time was important (Never make fun of someone’s laugh. Don’t complain about your period; it’s going to happen for 40 years, so learn to live with it, and go about your business.), but the lessons I’ve learned, and am still learning, from my mother’s example are the ones that are the most memorable.
10 Things I’ve Learned From My Mother
1. Be a good friend and you will have good friends.
2. Sometimes marriage is hard. Really hard. Stick it out, and it will get good again. Really good.
3. If you find a man that you are crazy about, that “my heart will jump out of my body if I can’t see him” type of crazy, marry him, and have his babies. That love will see you through the hard times.
4. When that man dies, don’t lie down and give up. Hold your head up, lean on friends, and show strength. Others will be comforted by it.
5. Be kind to your children’s friends. They will love you forever, and rely on you when their own families let them down. This is a special and wonderful blessing.
6. Know when you are wrong, and apologize with sincerity. Stand your ground when you are right, even if it pisses people off.
7. Laugh, even when you don’t feel like it. The time will come when you do feel like it, and you won’t have forgotten how.
8. Love unapologetically. Trust your choices, and eventually others will, too.
9. Work hard. Treat your boss and your employees with the same level of respect.
10. Compliment your children frequently. They will grow up with a strong sense of self, and will pass this on to your grandchildren.
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