This is a little late for mother’s day, but every day should be a celebration of mothers, sisters, children, parents, friends, grandfathers and all our loved ones. The following list began brewing in my mind in the days leading up to mother’s day.
Many things my mom taught me, and a few she didn’t:
To be responsible—when she agreed to do something, she followed through. There was never a church board meeting that didn’t reach a quorum because she wasn’t there.
To live cheaply—if you want to save money, don’t spend it. For many years it was just me and her, never any child support and no rich grandparents to help us. Living cheaply was necessary for our survival.
To conserve and reuse—we washed Zip-lock bags, and empty margarine containers made great Tupperware and storage.
To love animals and nature—she was the kind of mom who paused to admire an intricate design in a spider web. I never had an ant farm as a child. Why would I need one? I left food for the ant colony under our front porch and spent hours watching them work.
To be myself—I am learning this lesson every day.
To enjoy a good book—we always utilized our local library, and if the book was too good to put down, it was fine to read it nonstop until finished (we could eat and sleep later).
To organize and clean—and to stay that way, well, I’ve been working on this one because, I confess, I come from a long line of bad housekeepers. For me, it’s never been better than it is right now, though, and I’m learning from scratch just how other families fight off clutter and mess.
To budget and pay off debt—anyone who can live in a travel trailer to save money for a down payment on her own home, and accomplish that in two years… well, she’s good with money.
To procrastinate—this one… I’m unlearning it.
To build, create and design—mom could do anything. She planned and built my own playhouse: I mean with 1 ½ stories, a 2 x 4 structure and a real roof.
To take care of my children—she believes children should be with their parents, not at moms day out, daycare, with cousins, hanging out with friends, and so on. Though most of her restrictions were too tight, I understand the principle: I am responsible for my child, her well-being, and most importantly, I am responsible for what she is exposed to.
To challenge myself—when I was still in high school, mom was talking about how I could try to purchase a small house and have it paid off before I even graduated college. I thought she was crazy!
To enjoy flavorful food and spices—mom’s idea of “spicy” is ketchup. Once I struck out on my own, I experimented with food and tried different kinds of restaurants and oh, I love it!
To educate myself—while my friends contemplated what they would be doing after high school or which college they wanted to attend, I was already in college—a semester early. There was never any question that I would be educated, the only question was in what subject.
To value my time—Though I had some trying semesters in school, I truly understood this lesson after I started my first job as a teacher. As soon as I arrived, someone wanted me to sponsor this group, someone else wanted me to support that activity and everyone wanted me to do everything. Sometimes, she said, you decline because you “have a prior engagement”--that engagement being an appointment with time for yourself.