“A mother would have been always present. A mother would have been a constant friend; her influence would have been beyond all other.” – Northanger Abbey.
This is my mom. Isn’t she beautiful? A candid moment captured at my wedding. She has her granddaughter in her arms and her own mother looking across the table at the two of them. I’m so thankful for this picture. (Thank you Justina Phippen Photography)! It also makes me realize how few pictures I have of my mother. That needs to change.
Today’s my mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! In honour of that, it would be my pleasure to share 5 of the most important life lessons I have learned from her. Of course, I have learned so much, I could be making a list of 100 things… but I’ve narrowed it down to the 5 that have shaped me and stuck with me the most as I’ve entered into my own journey through motherhood.
1. Follow Your Dreams.
My mother has shown me that being a mother is all about helping your children find their own path, and supporting them in it no matter how it makes us feel. Over and over again she has proven this to me, as I know I have made a lot of choices she wouldn’t necessarily have agreed with, except she knew — these were my choices; my dreams. She has been my biggest supporter through everything – having Gigi, my relationship with K, finishing school, moving to Calgary… I know she had strong opinions about it all (and that’s only an assumption, she was so careful never to share them with me). Instead of casting a shadow on my choices, she chose to lift me up in each of them, bringing out the best of me and giving me the strength to pursue each one, even when it meant her grandchildren moving across the country.
2. Be Positive.
We are all dealt challenges throughout our lives. Only now, as a mother myself, am I finally getting a glimpse into the challenges my mother has had to face and the ones she is facing now. I would never have known otherwise, but I am now blessed to be able to call her one of my closest friends, switching the gears from a strictly mother/daughter relationship to one of friends. I am thankful for her honesty, and that, as friends, she is able to share with me in her trials, as I’ve always shared with her in mine. Because of this, I am able to see how she exudes positivity. I understand how important it is not to let our challenges dictate our worldview. This doesn’t mean we have to live our lives pretending to be perfect, but be upfront about the difficult hands we’re being dealt, and show how we refuse to let them get us down. I only hope my children see this in me someday, where they can sit back and say, “you went through that? But you were always so happy… I never would have known.”
3. Listen, Really listen.
This could be my favourite. By listen, I mean with your ears, as well as with your eyes and your heart. That’s how she listens. She’s very careful to really hear me. She takes into account my feelings before giving her opinion. She has this uncanny ability to know when to say something, and when not to. I think she gets this from HER mother. I desperately hope I’ve inherited this.
4. Work Hard to Play Hard.
This is the one I have trouble living in. I think my generation is guilty of getting a lot of things EASILY, and not having to work for much. My mother shows me how rewarding it can be to work hard. She rarely stops, even when I tell her to. She can’t. She doesn’t know how. But she knows what’s important. And she knows how to enjoy life. She seems to live in these little moments that sit within hard work. Sunny days, a lake-side breeze, her grandchildren’s smiles… all of her hard work makes these moments worth it. Boy, do I want to live like that.
5. Take Care of Yourself.
My mom wants to be around for us for as long as she is able. I am in awe of how proactive she is about it all. She really takes care of herself, and I can only dream of being like her. Exercising, eating right, testing for this, that and the other thing… I can’t keep track. But I know she is doing it to be on top of her health. She takes care of herself so she can keep taking care of us, and I can’t think of a better reason than that.
Happy Birthday mom. Thank you for being you, everyday. I love you.
I’ll have the cupcakes ready to eat by 6:00.
The kids will be thrilled to blow out the candles for you over Skype… and even more thrilled to eat a cupcake in your honour.
Wish you were here everyday. Oh wait, you are. In me.