Sunday, September 1, 2013

Five lessons from my Mom, and how she taught them

My mom's birthday card is sitting on the kitchen table, ready to dropped in the mail tomorrow.  That would be a good thing, except her birthday was two weeks ago.  If you said something about it to her, she would just smile and tell you how busy I am, and how well I handle it.  Love always believes the best about someone, and my Mom is one of the most loving people I know.  I drop the ball on things like cards way too often, but I do appreciate my Mom and her influence on my life.

As a tribute to her, would you allow me to share five of the many lessons my Mother taught me, and how she went about teaching them?

A happy life is one spent for others.

My mom started working as a registered nurse at the age of twenty.  Caring for people was not just her job, it was her passion.  I remember her taking extra to to make sure that "her residents" received the best care, although many of them were incapable  of ever expressing appreciation.  Mom always cared for our family with excellence, cooking, cleaning, listening to spelling words long into the evening.  Even today, you will find her volunteering with some of the neediest children in her area.


When my mom was finally still for a few moments, there was always a book or a magazine in her hand.   Biographies have always been her favorite reading material.  She stayed updated on current world affairs and politics.  She always subscribed to professional journals and read them cover to cover.

I was well into my twenties before I realized what a rare example she had set for me as her daughter.  I will always be grateful for the quiet lesson in the importance of reading much, and of reading material of substance.

Work hard

This lesson became clear to me one day when I was about fourteen.  Mom took my sister and I with her to work so that we could volunteer at the facility where she was a nurse.  At the end of the day, she found us fast asleep in the corner.  At home, I took another nap while she fixed dinner, cleaned the kitchen and prepared for another day.  I realized just how hard she worked on a daily basis.  Yet, she never complained and even made it seem  like it was her joy to wash that last sink full of dishes.

I, her child, am valued and loved.

When I was little, my mom told me often of how happy she was that I had come into her life.  She took ten years off from her career to give my sister and I the best possible start in life.  As an adult, I know what sacrifices she and my dad must have made, but at the time she made it seem like nothing but a privilege to spend her time with us.  When she went back to work part time, I knew that it was not just so she could get out of the house.  It was part of her effort to give us the best of everything.

Trust in God

When I was a little girl, I usually woke up to the sound of my mother praying .  Often, she was praying for me.  Children have the rare opportunity to hear their parents' responses in unguarded moments.  Whether responding to a crazy driver or a head strong pre-schooler or a dramatic teenager, my mother's response was to plea God's mercy.  Sometimes, these days,  I hear myself quoting her,  "Lord, have mercy, I don't know what to do with this child."

My Mother taught me many lessons, some of which I will probably only recognize in  the coming years. But for today, I am grateful for the gift God gave me in My Mother.

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