Sunday, May 14 marks Mother’s Day in the United States and I know similar days are celebrated in other countries around the world. Although my mother passed away in 2000, I still feel her influence on my life every day. Our parents play such an important part in our lives and shape us in so many ways. Good, bad, or indifferent parents still impact how we turn out. Thankfully, my mother was amazing.
Every moment with my mother wasn’t about parenting, but sometimes it was the little things that made the biggest impression. I just want to say thanks for a few of those little things.
It’s because of my mother that I developed my love of reading. Growing up, we were never allowed to say we were bored. If you didn’t have anything to do you were advised to read a book. And there were tons of books in my house. My mother thought it was a sin to discard books so she “rescued’ as many discarded books as she could when our school district or public library disposed of old and tattered books. Mom was always reading something (I don’t know when she had the time!). As adults we had our own book club, reading books and discussing them together.
Can I tell you just how responsible my mother is for my tea addiction? Since you cannot (and should not) give children coffee (which my mother drank every morning), I was allowed to sit at the breakfast table with Mom and have a cup of hot tea. Of course I pretended my tea was coffee. And of course I put waaaaay too much sugar in my tea (I still haven’t broken that habit). But at five or six we sat at the table like to grown up ladies (in my mind) and I loved every minute of it.
My mother taught me how to pray. Mom would read to me and my sister at bedtime. Sometimes she would read from the bible. I didn’t dawn on me until I was an adult that the reason I knew Psalms 23 and the Lord’s Prayer by heart was because those scriptures were often whispered to me as a child as I drifted off to sleep.
As a child I would sometimes wake up at night and cry out for my mother (I was too afraid to take the 15-20 steps down the hall to my parents’ room). My cries didn’t always have to loud or repeated. No matter how faint, she heard me and she came. As an adult, even when I had kids of my own and life seemingly was getting the best of me, she would often hear my faintest cry and she would come.
My mother taught me how to be a mother. She showed me the importance of putting aside housework to play in the snow. She allowed me to know first-hand just how important it is to hug, kiss, and cuddle your children as often as possible. My mother taught me that I would make mistakes as a mother and as a human being, but to not dwell on those mistakes and instead use them as lessons of what to do or not do the next time. She was way more forgiving than me (I’m still learning).
Most of all my mother taught me that life is precious and that we shouldn’t take anything for granted – not one second together or “I love you” or birthday or cup of tea. I don’t necessarily think that was a lesson she intended to teach, but it was one that I have learned quite well since she’s been gone.