My mom didn’t teach me normal “Mom” things. She didn’t teach me how to cook, or impart secret family recipes for her great grandmother’s chocolate cake. She didn’t teach me how to tell when a vegetable was ready to pick or what kinds of flowers would attract butterflies but repel deer. My mom wasn’t one of those moms. You know the kind. The ones who have cookies ready for you when you get home from school and the one you run to for sympathy when you’ve had a bad day or scraped your knee.
Please don’t get me wrong, my mom isn’t a heartless sociopath or anything, she just isn’t super touchy-feely. You want sympathy and snuggles? Go find Dad.
But my mom taught me how to be a grown up. She taught me Algebra when I was in elementary school and schooled me on amortization charts and depreciation values. She shared with me her love of spreadsheets and taught me how to set up a budget. She taught me how to stand on my own, how to ask for help, how to accept a compliment.
My mom taught me that knowledge is sexy and that you can be pretty and smart. She never once told me to dumb myself down or be anything less than who I am to get the guy. She taught me to trust, but verify, that youth is the time to take crazy chances, and that there is no shame in walking away from situations that are dangerous to you mind, body, or soul.
My mom taught me about commitment. She showed me that marriage is forever, so you should be careful with whom you start that journey. She taught me about consequences and follow through. “You can do anything you want,” she would tell us, “as long as you accept the consequences of your actions.”
She taught me that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them, and that sometimes, things happen for a reason. My mom taught me that, when you get your heart-broken, it’s okay to spend a whole day in bed crying and watching movies. She taught me to take myself a little less seriously.
My mom taught me about self-control, self-respect, and personal responsibility. She would remind David and me that, “You can’t control how other people act. You can only control your reaction.” She taught me that just because you think something, doesn’t mean you have to say it and that if there is more than one way to interpret someone’s comment, always choose the one that is nicest toward you.
My mom taught me that love means choosing your battles. Hurtful words, once uttered, can never be taken back. She taught me that when you care about people, you do what needs to be done, even if it’s a thankless job. She taught me about selflessness, hard work, and independence.
There’s more. I could go on and on. As I set out on my journey to be a teacher and someday, Lord willing, a mom, I know this: If I end up being half the teacher my mom is, I’ll be twice as good as I ever need to be.
Happy Mother’s Day!