As similarities between two personalities increase, so too does the potential for emotional meltdown. And so it is with my Mother. The older I get, the more I have to grudgingly admit that I do and say and act very much like my mother. I don’t think before I speak: My words, though often intended for good, come out blunt and uncensored. I’m stubborn: if something is important to me I will. not. yield. I’m a neat freak: as in, I get cranky when there’s dust on the living room furniture. I even inherited my mom’s body shape: small on top, with stubby legs and wide ankles on the bottom. Alike as we are, we’ve certainly had our differences: and through the tumult comes life lessons. There’s much my Mother has taught me, intended or otherwise:
- Be strong in what you believe. My Mother has taught me that it’s not stupid to believe in something. Having values and morals that do not bend in the wind shows strength of character. Though our religious beliefs may be deities apart, my Mother’s tenacity for her faith inspires me to be steady and firm in what I believe.
- Be flexible in what you do. In the same way my Mother has taught me to be strong in my beliefs, she’s taught me to be flexible in life. If growing up in a family of six kids teaches nothing else, it’s that there is no room for rigidity. We have to adapt, we have to respond, we have to deal with different personalities, situations, opinions, needs and wants. We have to continuously change the way we do things if we want to move forward.
- Be adventurous. Six kids and a 25 year old Buick with tires as bald as the rocky mountains couldn’t stop my mom from leading us up those peaks to go hiking. The flat tire, grouchy kids, and fluorescent sign warning “bear in the area” couldn’t deter her either. My mom taught me that if you’re comfortable while you’re doing something, it’s not an adventure at all.
- Waste not want not. To this day, when my Mother tries to feed me, I question her about how long it’s been in the fridge; she refuses to throw anything out! As a result, I have a complete aversion to overdue dairy and am totally sensitive to any kind of meat or vegetables with a funny smell or discoloration. That doesn’t mean I don’t hear her voice in my head as I toss a half-eaten loaf of moldy bread in the garbage.
- Forgive and forget. I’m still learning. This is a lesson that comes from maturity and experience and I find I have a hard time letting go of bad feelings. Just as my Mother taught me that we must change the way we do things if we want to move forward, so too must we forgive, forget, and move on. After all that I’ve put my Mother through, all the mean things I’ve said and all the hurtful things I’ve done, she still texts me on a daily basis to tell me that she loves me. If that’s not forgiving and forgetting, I don’t know what is.
Thank you for the lessons Mom. Happy Birthday.