What I Have Learned From My Mother


While we have no shortage of holidays (yes, Dance Like a Chicken Day and Oyster Day are both real), there is one holiday that I find myself giving more and more reverence to with each year that passes. That day is Mother's Day. While the commercials and colorful ads often diminish this day to simply a selling point for bouquets and diamonds, I am reminded of the real reasons this day needs my attention.

Ironically my understanding of how important my mother is becomes greater with each year, only really gaining momentum when I became a mother myself. Why nature designs it this way, I don't know. Or maybe I am just incredibly slow in my hindsight.

All I can say, is while my gifts were more flashy 10 years ago, the recent years produce presents along the lines of Starbucks gift cards and cheesy Hallmark cards that lack the ability to put into words my immense gratitude and appreciation.

As mothers, we tend to minimize our value because we spend our days changing diapers instead of in a boardroom. Or we deny our worth because we spend our days in boardrooms instead of holding those in diapers. But the truth of the matter is that being at home or being at work, or however you have come to find yourself in the life of a child, really is not important. What is important is the powerful role a woman can play in a child's life.

Our teachers, our aunts, our neighbors - the women that make up our communities - biological or not - you are the educators, the protectors, the caregivers. You are the backbone of society helping to raise our children.

Because of all of the strong women in my life and those of my children, I reflect in gratitude over the impact you have had in my life and to those whom you mother. And I especially reflect in gratitude for my mother on this Mother's Day, even more grateful for you today than yesterday.

Over the years you have been humble in your wisdom and you have taught me so much about life and I thank you for all you have given me.

You have taught me the importance of just showing up and simply being present for someone else.

You have taught me that joy is in the moment; to dress up at Halloween, jump off the high dive and sing the loudest at karaoke.

You have shown me that sometimes, there is no right answer, but if I am quiet enough, I will hear the answer that is right for me.

You let me grow, albeit quite awkwardly at times, without mocking or belittling me or my opinions.

You have taught me to use my words wisely, as they can be a powerful tool or a fatal sword.

You have taught me to love learning; to read biographies, read about history, and learn the stories of others so I can better understand myself and the world around me.

You have taught me to give the most when I feel I have the least.

You have shown me tough love doesn't mean no love, but instead making hard decisions despite loving so much.

You have shown me to look beyond what others display on the outside, but to listen for their stories of who they are on the inside.

You have taught me to follow my heart, but not to lose my head.

You have taught me life isn't easy, it isn't fair and right doesn't always win. But that doesn't excuse me from acting with grace and continually doing my part to make this world a better place.

You have taught me to have faith and never stop looking for the light in the midst of the darkest days.

You have let me make mistakes, big ones, and never let the opinions of others distract you from making the decisions that were best for me, despite how painful and public they may have been.

You have taught me there is good and bad to everything, nothing is perfect and life is messy.

You have shown me, as a mother, there is no limit to love, once you have a child in your life, your heart is forever extended from your body.

And I know some people have lost their moms, have never met their moms, or even don't have the same sentiments towards their mom. For these reasons, in addition to those above, I take the gratitude I have for my own mother, and extend that honor to each mom -- biological, adopted, circumstantially chosen or otherwise - to each woman in the life of a child. Life isn't easy, but you make a difference and you make it all worthwhile.