A Holiday Gift For You…Things My Mother Taught Me

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My mother has been gone for over twelve year. I have a lot of special memories of her and I am often flooded by them around the holidays. She loved holidays because it brought family together and she was the glue that held us close. She taught me a lot about life, that it’s good and that it’s difficult. In my mother’s case, a lot of what I learned from her was through example. She carried herself with a quiet dignity, a humility and beauty that evades most people. I think I miss that about her most of all. I have known no greater person than my mother. Her advice and example have served me well through my life and while I know I will never match her grace, it’s something to keep striving for. As my gift to you this holiday season, I will share some of the best advice she ever gave me:

The day doesn’t start until your bed is made 

You can be happy or you can right but most of the time you can’t be both 

Eat a salad 

Aliens exist 

Find something to laugh about every day 

Strength is not boastful

Learn new things all the time 

Vote…in every election no matter how big or small

Looking good is important because it makes you feel good about yourself

Never kick a dead cat (Translation: Don’t go back to something once it’s over) 

Stay current with news…and with the latest styles

Revenge is a dish best tasted cold 

Follow the rules

If you don’t take care of your own health…No one else will do it for you

Be independent and self sufficient (Translation: Don’t ever “need” a man) 

If you marry…don’t just love him…like him too

Don’t dwell, learn from your mistakes and, move on

Arrogance is ugly

Don’t use fear as an excuse to stay stuck

Daily gratitude is the key to a peaceful life

Find ways to express your creativity 

Opinions are cheap…everyone’s got one

If you can read…you can cook

Take a look around and don’t take what you have for granted

You can re-invent your life if you don’t like where it is headed

Try to always be truthful and if you can’t be truthful…don’t talk

Pop music is awful

Explanations are one thing and excuses are quite another

Have hobbies…lots and lots of hobbies

Don’t talk outside of the family (Translation: Don’t gossip about your family with outsiders) 

You don’t have to express every thought in your head

It’s called work for a reason…It’s not supposed to be fun

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other

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A Mother’s Love

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A mother’s love is something special, given freely and without expectation. A mother’s love is fierce and proud and often boasting. No one knows us like our mother. She knows about our secrets before we do.

A mother’s love is boundless and brave and faithful. A mother’s love comes from her wisdom and her good common sense. In our most troubled moments, it is our mother who knows the answer to our problems and encourages us to face our fears.

A mother’s love is guiding and example setting and full of insightful care and counsel. A mother’s love is enlightening, instructive and inspiring. When we are lost and unsure of what to do, it is our mother who is our beckon and our source of strength.

A mother’s love is gracious and kind and full of compassion. A mother’s love is respectful and dutiful and devoted. A mother’s love comes from her deep understanding of loyalty and allegiance to the purpose and value of family. It is a mother’s heart that holds these relationships together.

A mother’s love is unyielding and without end. A mother’s love never dies.

 

Ten Years Later…

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As dawn broke and my eyes began to open, my thoughts immediately turned to my mother. Today is a special day but it is not a good day. Today is the ten year anniversary of my mother’s death and there is something oddly important about this number. Ten seems like a big number…a long time. It’s a meaningful anniversary but it is not a happy one.

Yet, I don’t want to dwell on her being gone today. Instead, despite the depths of my sorrow at no longer having her here, I want to celebrate who she was. So, that’s what I am going to do.

Describing my mother is no easy task. She was beautiful but stoic. She wasn’t warm but she was fiercely loyal to those she loved. She was funny without being comical. She did not waste words. She understood the value of action. My mother was logical but she believed in UFOs. She loved Star Trek and the Evening News.

There seemed to be very little my mother did not know. She was a vacuum of information…some useful and some not. Once while playing Trivial Pursuit she got a question about rap music. She knew the answer. How many people can say that about their mother?

My mother was uniquely able to connect with each of her children in very personal ways and with each of us she had a special bond, so much so that when she died, each of us was convinced we were her favorite child. Not all mothers can do that and it wasn’t because she nurtured us in the traditional motherly ways. It was because she knew us, each of us, better than we knew ourselves. She accepted each of us as individuals and even enjoyed that about her children.

When my mother died, she was on her second marriage but this was certainly her forever marriage. She loved and honored my step father with the entirety of her heart. She did not just love him. She liked him. They liked each other and this was obvious and refreshing and they were so fun to be around that when she died, I did not just grieve losing her, I grieved losing them together. Their joy for life and their understanding of what real love was, was unmatched.

There are people who believe that our loved ones are still with us after death. I don’t know if this is true or not. I don’t feel her presence. I feel her absence, even after ten years. It is profound and probably always will be because she was exceptional and when someone so extraordinary leaves your life, they leave a hole that cannot be filled. I honor that hole. I would rather live with that hole now and have had her in my life, than not have that hole, and never have had the pleasure to know her.

So ten years later, I still dearly miss my mother and it isn’t because I still need her. She raised me well enough not to. I miss her because she was fun to be around. I miss her because she was insightful and quirky and odd. I miss her because she had a fresh perspective on all things. I miss her because there is no one else like her.

Mothers…

Brave and sacrificing…

Brutally honest but somehow always encouraging…

Live by example in both success and failure…

Know us better than we know ourselves…

Inspire confidence and impart wisdom…

Always available for a pep talk…

Nurturing by nature…

Forever ready to be your champion…

The glue that holds a family together…

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Marianne

My mother

1945 to 2005

Dearly missed and always loved.

Marianne

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Hard to describe

One of a kind

Not like any other

Not the cookie baking type

Not overly emotional or terribly affectionate

Mostly fun and always funny

Quick with a witty comeback

Often smiling

A woman of particular pride

Always looking good

Regal

Beautiful inside and out

Family focused

Loyal to the core

Devoted

Kind

An example to follow

Someone worth looking up to

Fiercely private – “Don’t talk outside of the family” (She might actually have hated my blog…hard to say)

Full of interesting advice – “What can you expect from a pig but a grunt.”  or  “Never kick a dead cat.”

Never judgmental but always opinionated

Captivating

Physically fit

Cautiously adventurous

A rule follower at heart

Imperfectly wonderful

My mother – Marianne

Deeply, deeply missed

June 1945- October 2005