My poor mother. I was her second child and she had me when she was only 20 years old. While David, my brother who is a year and two days older than me, was quiet and obedient, I ... was not.
Mom loved me, but I drove her crazy. I never stopped talking. She put me in nursery school when I was barely three (before the days of daycare) at the recommendation of our pediatrician.
She never told me this story until after my son Alan was born. He's just like me. Instead mom made me feel like every word I had to say was important. I was important.
From generation to generation we pass down those things that are most important to us. And most of what we pass on, we do so unknowingly -- like the fact that I always purchase large white eggs. Not medium. Not brown. Large, white were the best value. That's what mom always did.
My mom told me that if I wore white shoes or belts or carried a white purse after Labor Day or before Memorial Day, I would become a social outcast.
But she showed me that wearing what made me feel good about myself was what mattered most in the long run. She also showed me that making someone else happy would bring me the most joy.
She told me never to beep unless it was an emergency. And not to pull the legs off a daddy longlegs or it would rain the next day.
But she showed me that patience was indeed a virtue. And that what God thought about me was more important than what the popular kids thought about me.
Mom told me that the soles of my feet would toughen up by mid June. (And you blame me now for running around barefoot?) That beauty must suffer. And that I should have asked her before using my dad's razor the first time I shaved my legs.
But she showed me that you could get farther with a smile and a kind word than you could a well-deserved retort. You could get a tire changed faster by standing outside your car looking bewildered than you could by calling AAA. (You devious thing you!) And that the broken flowerbed wasn't nearly as important as winning the backyard football game.
That's the really cool thing about parenthood. We don't have to remember to tell our kids much of anything, because they learn it all from watching us. Scary, right? Think about that as you run around like crazy skipping breakfast in the morning or sit in front of the TV munching all evening.
On the other hand, it only takes one person to break bad habits that may have been handed down for generations. Someone has to do it. Step up! Be the hero! Your family will be thanking you for years ... generations ... to come.
Who I am today is so much more because of what mom showed me than what she ever told me. And we know that because I never really listened anyway. Right mom?