She grew up during the Great Depression. She recounted times of how being the youngest of five children she would sometimes have to search garbage cans for food. She wasn't kidding. Her parents came from Poland in the mid 1920s and planted seeds in Detroit (my roots). They worked hard to provide for the family, but the depression left them jobless, hungry and humble. But they had hope she tells me.
She is a strong woman, physically and emotionally. Today she has survived her parents, her four older siblings and her husband of over 50 years.
My mom. A strong soul.
Yes, growing up with her I learned lessons of understanding to appreciate everything, work hard, give to others and stay grounded. Mom was not academically educated past high school because she went to work to support her parents, but she is street smart and oh so wise. But it wasn't until I was in my mid 20s that I really appreciated her wisdom. I am sure many parents will resonate with my thoughts here...
She couldn't help me with my advanced math classes, French classes or debate speeches -- but she took her time to quiz me for upcoming tests, drive me to 6 a.m. swim practices and back home from after school activities all the while keeping me centered in home life to learn the importance of it all. She cooked. She cleaned. She nurtured. She is Polish -- 100 percent.
She certainly had her own battles, her own challenges. But she raised three children of her own with the intention of growing smart, confident, kindhearted, independent young adults. Bravo!
She instilled in me the bigger picture of life -- to KNOW myself, to believe in myself and to be different -- to embrace the maverick in me. Not for ego's sake, but purely to show my brilliance (essence) to the world. Brilliance isn't necessarily marked by being popular or award winning. It's not marked by getting thousands of Facebook LIKES, going viral on YouTube or being the hit of the party. It staked by allowing your true inner self to shine altruistically and to positively touch many lives through your natural gifts.
Mom taught me values of respect, care, confidence, and kindness, just to name a few. She has demonstrated her resilience through the loss of her parents, three sisters, a brother and her husband (dad) as well as other personal challenges. She somehow comes through it all with grace, looking to each morning as if the petals of the flowers will open just for her.
And so here I am, now with children of my own. I am a maverick of sorts. I don't necessarily follow the rules, but I am not one to create a rampage either. I am settled with myself, my purpose, my passions and my life. And I have a beautiful life, with gratitude. And the insights and wisdom from my mom will be passed to my own children (millennials).
They are quite simple, actually.
So dear millennials, here are the mom mantras to embrace, to hug, to get really close to... and to live by:
When you falter, admit it. Its human. No one is perfect... except, perhaps, saints?
Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Learn from them. Grow from them. Move forward. Hanging onto the past will only hold you back from showering the world with your greatness.
Take a pass on regrets. Give everything you do your very BEST... whether its a task, or loving someone. There is no guilt to be felt if you "muster your all" in all that you do.
Forgive others for their misdoings and mistakes. You will get hurt, be taken advantage of or be compromised. Don't harbor anger or hate.
Appreciate other's differences. Don't let race, religion or social or economic background build a wall against understanding. Be grateful how others will compliment (add value to) you... not everyone will behave/live as you do but know that sometimes differences are there to make the two/three/or four parts into a whole.
BELIEVE in yourself. This is a mind mantra. It stems from you learning to acquire self confidence through measured risk-taking and experiences. If you don't believe in YOU, who will?
Perseverance and patience pays. The world doesn't always work on your timetable. Practicing patience and being persevering will still get you there... just a little later. What's the rush?
Life is NOT short. But it blinks by because you forget to appreciate the minutes, the moments of each day. Then it all becomes a blur. Don't live a blur. Live a new breath each and every moment. (Sweet tweetable!)
In honor of my dear mom, mavericks making way for positive change and young millennials embarking on future journeys, may you take the time to discover yourself and your essence. May you Live it and Share it. The world is waiting for you!