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Changing My Attitude About Mother's Day

"What we love we shall grow to resemble."

Saint Bernard

Happy Mother’s day!

Today I thought about a little girl with large brown eyes making a mess in the kitchen as she did her best to make breakfast in bed on Mother's Day. 

I loved doing that for my mom as a kid.  I never missed a Mother's day that I lived at home, once I learned how to cook.

When I think about life, I could think of hundreds of things that my parents, both together and separately, have taught me. Most of these are not your typical lessons… you know, cook a pork tenderloin until 160 degrees (I have no idea if that’s right) or change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles or better yet, avoid smacking the distributor cap with a hard object such as a fishing reel. These lessons are the ones that really guide your life. My mother taught me many things. She taught me to love the classics and good music in general. She taught me the importance of being intellectually curious and the value of community. She modeled for me how to be a forgiving friend, great wife, a kind sister, a giving daughter and how to be a nurturing mother.

In fact, when I’m faced with a decision, I often think about the lessons that my mom (and dad, too) have taught me. Sometimes, I even still go to my mom for the best options.

Now, you are probably thinking that I should be old enough at the ripe old age of 45 to make my choices without my mommy. I am. It’s not really even like an approval thing or a mom-daughter thing. It’s more like a best friend thing… talk out the choices, weigh the options, etc.

My mom was a mere 19 when she had me. She is a hard working, hilarious, amazing person. Not everyone is lucky to have a mother and few are lucky to have a mother like mine – well 6 other people are. As with most people, I have a few people in my life who really inspire me, and my mom is one of those. Throughout my life, she has always been there for me -- inspiring me and caring about me and encouraging me. Not only has she always been there for me, standing by my side no matter what crazy phase I was in, she's also been teaching me some great life lessons.

My mom is a smart cookie. So… I decided to make a list of the lessons I’ve learned from my mom as my gift to her on this Mother’s Day:

1. Be generous with others. Anyone who knows my mom knows she's one of the most generous people in the world. She’d give the shirt off her back for you… if you needed it. She taught this lesson to her children. It’s something I’ve learned well and I often find myself giving away my favorite dress because my mom did that once for me (she took off right as soon as I said I liked it and gave it to me). My siblings have learned this too. Every one of us is generous to a fault.

Even this past weekend is an example of the giving heart my mom shared with us children. Saturday was the baptism of my youngest daughter. After the dip in the water, my husband and daughter changed into nice clothes while the rest of us sang Primary songs. During one of the songs, my 17 year old daughter sheepishly got up and walked over to my brother. “My dad needs you to go to the bathroom.” “Huh?” My brother raised an eyebrow, but went to the bathroom. John was hiding out in the bathroom stall to avoid any extra eyes wondering at his predicament. “Oh good! You came. Can I barrow your shirt?” He neglected to bring an extra one. I almost peed my pants laughing. He had spent the morning being the Mother Hen and reminding me of all the things Lilli needed and forgot an important item for himself. Paul, taking on the lessons of mom whipped his own white shirt off, put on his sweater and headed back to the singing. John returned to the room with a white shirt with the sleeves 3 inches too long. I’m sure no one noticed.

That’s just it. Mom is always happy to lend a hand or help someone out if she can. It's from her that I've learned to be (or tried to be) a giving person.

2. Live in the moment. Throughout my life, my mom has always shown me how to embrace the present moment. She finds a way to make every activity fun.

After the baptism we all went home and made brunch. Mom started telling stories: “remember when the cop stopped us and someone was throwing the stuffing out of the back seat and out the window at the cop?” “Hey! I think I was in that car.” Or, “The dog always eats better with a little gravy.” “So does grandma. Do you remember how she ate dog slobber?” We all laughed ourselves silly reminiscing, telling stories and quoting movies and the Smother’s Brothers.

My mom is one of the few people I know who really knows how to live in the now.

Life can be really, really funny -- but only if you're paying attention. My mom is one of those people who, when faced with hard times, knows how to look for the humor in it. And I can remember quite a few times when I was so down and only she could make me laugh.

And, don't be afraid to be silly. My mom is a silly lady, and she's not afraid of her silliness. She even did her “bacon” impression at my wedding. LOL. There are so many aspects of life that require the utmost seriousness, so why not take some time to be silly every now and then? My mom knows how to embrace her silly side -- and helps me embrace mine too!

3. Strive to be patient. Between dealing with me, my 4 sisters, 2 brothers, and my dad, my mom has developed an amazing ability to be patient. This is something I truly admire since I'm not the most patient person in the world. I hope someday I can be as patient as my mom is.

4. Support those you love. Through ups and downs, good and bad, my mom has always remained supportive of her loved ones. I'm sure at times it was hard to be supportive of my choices, but she has always been my #1 encourager. She is also the #1 supporter of my siblings. Some of us have made some real dumb choices in the past (yes, I resemble that). Yet my mom has always been there to cry on, complain to, work beside, clean up after, and just plain support. No one prays as hard for her family as my mom does. I’m sure of it.

5. Stand up for what you believe in, even if it isn’t popular. If you know my mom, you know me. She is a people-pleaser. I think I am, too (I know… if you know me now, you are cracking up). My mom showed me on numerous occasions that you don’t have to go along with a crowd and do what’s “popular”. I actually could write an entire post on my mom’s ability to just say, “No, I don’t really feel that way at all… and this is why…” I always thought it was incredible to watch her go against the grain with people. She’s brave. She’s tough.

6. Remember what's important. My mom has a lot going on in her life (who doesn't?!), but she always manages to prioritize what's important to her. Her family and friends really matter to her and she makes time for them and puts them first. Most importantly, she puts her faith first. My mom knows what she believes in and she stays true to those beliefs. It's important to recognize what's important to you and what matters most to you, and my mom has manage to do that -- and to stay loyal to those things that matter most.

7. Celebrate beauty. My mom is a beautiful person -- inside and out -- and she is one of the people in my life who has taught me to celebrate and appreciate beauty. She notices the beauty in things and, in turn, I've learned to do that as well. She sees the beauty in nature, in art, in music, and in people. I have learned that God created enormous beauty in the world through my mom’s eyes.

8. Never give up. One of the greatest things about my mom is her persistence. If she wants to get something done, she will find a way -- no matter what. "Where there's a will, there's a way." This should be her motto.

9. Give energy to get energy. "Energetic" and "full of life" are two things I would definitely use to describe my mom. She is always full of energy and, for that reason, she gets a lot of energy coming back at her. I've noticed when I give out energy, I always get it back (just like my mom!).

10. Do what you can with what you have. My mom knows how to make the most of whatever she's working with. I can’t tell you how many times she created a meal out of nothing… clothing out of a pillow case and remodeled hand-me-downs… or pushed a cars to get around town. Life was hard sometimes (my youngest says that I am practically a pioneer. If that’s true, my mom is the leader of the pioneers.) Whether it's supplies for a school project or life in general, my mom knows how to take the things she's given and make them work for her.

11. Help others help themselves. While, of course, my mom is a huge fan of helping others, she's also really great at helping them help themselves. She's taught me and my siblings how to do things so we could do them for ourselves. As great as it is to help, it's even great to help others help themselves.

12. Work hard for what you want. Nothing good comes without a lot of hard work, and no one knows this better than my mom. If you really want something, you have to go after it. You have to make it happen. My mom is so inspiring in this way because she has taught me to really go after what I want in life. I’ve seen her wield a chain saw and work on the family log house; I’ve seen her finish her college degree after 5 of her 7 children left home and start a career as a teacher; I’ve seen her pray for her children… and get results.

13. Know which battles are worth fighting. My mom knows how to pick her battles. She knows which things are worth fighting for (or about) and which are worth letting go. I'm still learning this myself, but I'm lucky to have a role model to look up to so that I know that not everything is worth a battle.

As you can see, my mom is a pretty amazing person. She has inspired me in so many ways and she is constantly teaching me new things. She's taught me all of the lessons listed here and so many more and, for that, I will always, always be thankful. Not many people are lucky enough to come in contact with people as great as my mom, let alone have her for a mother so, though I'm trying my best to resist bragging, I must say that I am extremely lucky to have her in my life.

I used to hate Mother's Day.  No little brown eyed girl made me breakfast; children usually argued and faught; I was lucky to get a so much as a note.  This year is no exception.  Still no breakfast in bed; my son is grumpy and rude to everyone; my children have acknowledged the day in word but no deeds; my husband made dinner, but I helped with the dishes because the daughters were taking naps.  Still, this has been a good day.  It's my attitude that's different this year, I guess.  This year I am focusing on my gratitude for my mom and the lessons she taught me.  This year I'm focusing on how grateful I am to have the oppertunity to mother my kids.  This year I am dreaming of the Mother's Days to come when my own daughters become mothers.
It's been a good day.


  1. Bwahahahahaha! I KWEW there was SOMETHING going on in the John departmnt! LOL!!!!
    Ok, to comment on the rest of your post. Yep...LOVE your mom! First crossed paths 22 years ago and now more regularly...I , too, am blessed. And....GUESS WHAT?!? i AM THNKFUL THAT YOU ARE "mom" in my family's life, too! Mwah!

  2. Oh...and the husband says that he could've had his shirt...but I think some just might have noticed! LOL! Love ya!


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