*FYI: This is a longer post than normal.
My mother is my rock. So, when I moved out in mid-January her and I both had a rough time with it. Sure, I was stoked to be back on my own and free from the rules of my parents, but it still pained me. My mother is the best. I’m sure everyone says that about their mothers and if so, then that’s awesome! She has protected me, provided for me and simply loved me unconditionally through life’s triumphs and mishaps. I was never the poster child of greatness, but she always seemed to have her stuff together.
When I was young, I loved to run through and play under store racks. Shopping was boring to me (gasp! not anymore though) and so I’d go off to la la land and hide under the clothes racks. I’d play a game of hide and seek (with my mom unaware or so I thought) yet somehow my mother always knew where to find me. *I asked her about this recently and she said she ALWAYS knew which rack I was hiding under. DARN!*
When I was young, I would complain about sitting in the car for too long. Long drives for any child without entertainment is just a situation of disastrous proportions. So, my mom would always say, “If you pedal, we’ll get there faster.” Now, I understand there aren’t pedals in a car, but my 5-year-old self didn’t know any better. Immediately, I’d start pedaling (more like stomping my feet on the floor of the car). My mother remembers how much I would just giggle and giggle about how awesome it was to help mommy drive.
When I was young, I was dramatic. Very small things and situations would cause me to respond with wild gestures, screaming and/or pouting and stomping. My pediatrician seemed to notice this one day at an appointment. “Amber, you’re going to be an actress someday,” he proclaimed. Boy, that would have been cool. Can you imagine? Me! Attending the Oscars, accepting the award for Best Actress. I’m sure my acceptance speech would be just shy of a Meryl Streep monologue. Perfection!
I could go on with these stories for a while. Let’s just say I put my mother through a lot of hoops growing up.
Recently, I was visiting with my parents and I made a comment about how much hard work it can be to maintain your home and everything that goes with living on your own like laundry, cooking, cleaning, dusting, pet duties, trash duties, etc. I was aware of the hard work it takes since I had lived on my own when I went to school for two years. This time, though, I was paying the big bills. Anyway, I told my mom thank you for all that she has done for me and I appreciate her love and support. She loves to hear that I”m sure.
So, today I wanted to take a step back and appreciate my mother and to share with you the lessons she thought I wasn’t listening to and luckily they are the one’s I hold close to me.
“Remember who you are.” This one stuck with me early on. My parents divorced when I was very young, like less than a year old. So, when it was time to deal with the custody issue my mother had to give my brother and I up every other weekend and 2 weeks during the summer. When Friday came along for my dad to have us, we would wait for his van to pull into the Hi-Vee (a grocery store in Iowa) and my mother would always say, “Remember who you are.” Basically, be true to yourself. If something doesn’t feel right then walk away. My mother always worried about us during those weekends and truthfully she had every right to when we would come home with scrapes or rug burns. She wanted to emphasize that you are you and no one can change that except for yourself.
“Always do your best.” This one was constantly ringing in my ear throughout grade school and college. My mom was willing to stay up late during school nights to make sure we finished our homework or project. In high school, yes high school, I recruited her help (and my step-dad’s) to construct a bridge entirely made out of newspaper. It was for my Physics class. There’s no way I could have done as well in that class if it weren’t for the help of those two working late hours rolling newspaper and gluing all the bridge pieces together. I still think the phrase applies today, so it’s an oldie but goody.
“Be honest.” This one is pretty simple. I wasn’t always honest with my mom. As kids, we try to get around things or say things to get what we want. All kids do this and we’re all manipulative little twerps for it. The point is to quit doing that stuff when we’ve wised up. I think I have.
“Learn something new everyday.” This one has become my favorite lesson. I think I took advantage of it during school, but now that I’ve finished (maybe) I’ve realized that I need to continuously stimulate my mind. It’s what makes you you, right? I want to build my worth. I want to learn skills that I can take elsewhere in my life. I want to be able to teach as well as learn. We, as a society, should be willing to teach others and learn from others. That’s what makes a great community. The willingness of others.
“Remember what I taught you.” This one seems to sum up this entire post in a nutshell, but I remember numerous times these words coming out when I was going out of town. She’s basically saying everything above in when concise sentence. She’s pretty smart like that.
So, I congratulate you if you are still reading this. Thank you. These are the lessons that I will take with me for as long as I live. These are the lessons I teach to you. And I hope to someday tell these lessons to my children.