…be neat, efficient, & take care with your appearance. I mentioned the spotless house I grew up in. I’m glad she showed me that it takes consistency to keep things clean and it’s very possible to do so. Also, take time to deal with mail, phone calls and putting things away, right away. It takes less time than searching later, which I only learned after I left home. And there’s almost no good reason to leave a house without having your hair and face done. Wearing sweats in public? Never! “You never know who you’ll run into,” she’d say. Always look your best and do your best.
…her love to work. This is where I get it from. I love to work; my son and daughter that have these genes do too. Give us something to do and we’re all over it. When Son One was mowing the lawn at age 11, he just had a lightness in his step that revealed his contentment. My daughter has it and I believe I do too. When I have a classroom to be in, I’m happy; papers to grade, great; lessons to plan, cakes to bake, closet to clean….let’s go. It’s all good. It’s just a part of what makes us tick.
...that she had confidence in us. On the last day of 6th grade in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we began our journey to Orlando, FL. Long before GPS, we relied on the giant paper road maps (which I love). With no hesitation, they handed the map to me just south of Kalamazoo and said, “Get us there.” I did, with not one wrong turn. I couldn’t articulate it then, but I felt pretty good about it – mostly because they gave such an important job to an 11 year old kid.
…while you’re at it, have fun with your kids. In Michigan, it snowed. A lot. After she’d pick us up from elementary school, she’d go to an empty parking lot and spin donuts on the icy asphalt. Pre-seat belts, we flew from side to the side in the big back seat of the Chevy boat she drove. We laughed and she chuckled, like she knew she was probably setting a bad example, but she loved to drive fast and this was as close as she’d get to driving recklessly.
…honor other people’s preferences. A few years ago we had a family over for Thanksgiving. The wife pre-apologized for being a picky eater and said she probably wouldn’t eat much because of it. Well I knew she liked potatoes but not onions. So, I made the potato dish with onions but made a small serving for her without onions. I used a tiny cassarole dish my mom had used for such occasions. The look on her face when she saw that I had done that for her was priceless. She felt so special. My mom had also done for that us. Once when I said that in a group of people, a gal harrumphed and said, “If they don’t like it, they can go without.” My immediate thought: That’s not love and that’s not being a gracious host. So mom, I like your way better. Honor your guest.
….how to serve your family. My mom loved to sleep…it was one of her favorite activities and all the better if others slept too. Sadly for her, she had an early-riser (me) by choice and one by necessity (dad). Every morning he worked, she got up and made him a hot breakfast and made his lunch, at 5 AM. She didn’t like being up that early at all, but never said or did anything otherwise. Once he was settled, she went back to bed. That’s selfless.
Thanks, Mom. You showed me more than you thought you did. I’ll take it from here.