Last October, I wrote a post for my dad’s birthday, full of things I’d learned from him. At the end of that post, I promised a version for my mom’s birthday, which happens to fall on Valentine’s Day (cue the oohs and ahhs). To honor my mom’s true self, I’m showing up to this party a little late. I don’t think she could be on time if her life depended on it. (I love you, mom. Thank you for bestowing upon me a very similar quality.) Without further ado, here are a few things that tiny redheaded lady I’m lucky enough to call my mom has taught me.
Choose kindness and put others first. All while growing up, my mom urged us (read: left my sister and I no other option) to always choose kindness, even if it meant taking the less popular route. She didn’t care if it turned you into a dork magnet or someone who might not get invited to the cool 5th grader’s birthday party. She told us to think about how the other person would feel, and to put ourselves second. This certainly isn’t the easiest task but it’s haunted me and still drives how I behave today. While it might have been fun to go to some of those parties, or not danced with some of the aforementioned dorks, I can’t say that it hasn’t helped.
Matching may not be the most important thing in life, but it’s a close second. Years of my life were spent wearing headbands that matched the colorful socks that perfectly offset a statement belt on a matchy-matchy outfit, and the entire neighborhood knew it. My mom takes pride in matching everything just so, literally down to the socks and metal embellishments on a shoe. It still feels sacrilegious of me to mix my metals in jewelry.
Talk to strangers. Alright, it’s not as if my mom was shoving us into dark alleys or creepy looking vans as children, so take back the gasp that just escaped your mouth. My mom has the ability to strike up a conversation with anyone. Just recently, she and I met an extremely inspirational 94-year-old man in San Diego, simply because she is not afraid to talk to strangers. WD told us all about his outlook on life, what keeps him positive, and how this life is a one way ticket and we have to look at it that way to find happiness. He also said my mom was the warden and my dad was a prisoner of love. This was a stranger I was happy to chat with. Since moving downtown, I have fallen victim to the don’t-talk-to-anyone-on-the-train-especially-if-they-look-creepy approach. A couple of summers ago, we were on the train and a creepy individual sat behind her and started chatting. (To her? To himself? One will never know.) She turned around and talked to him for a few stops. Until he told her that he wanted to kiss my sister. Then the conversation was over.
Shopping is a fine art that sometimes takes hours, days, years. If my mom could be captain of any life activity, it might be shopping. She knows where to find deals, comes with a mind full of patience, and her ability to shop for hours is unrivaled. While it may annoy my dad and/or his wallet at times, you can’t help but acknowledge her talent in the area.
It’s ok to sleep until noon. Even after a certain age. To this day, I pretty much know that if I send my mom a text message before noon, I won’t get a response for awhile. The woman’s internal clock is that of a college student. She will be running around the house, doing laundry or catching up on HGTV episodes until 3am, but you best believe she will sleep until noon. In fact, I remember zombie-ing my way upstairs at 4am after spending hours on AIM to find her sitting on the counter, talking on the phone with her mom, sipping coffee. The caffeinated kind. Apparently this is a genetic thing.
Silliness is encouraged. I have to admit, I’ve turned deep shades of red thanks to my mom acting a fool in public. Thoughts of being at the aquatic show at the Shedd Aquarium with my mom and my aunt, who were over-enthusiastically making seal noises the entire time come to mind. So does this time when we were out for dinner and she put a sticker on her nose and willingly posed, for no apparent reason other than life is more fun that way.
Or just when she did this and my dad could not handle it.
Something else I have learned from my mom? There is never a dull moment. Hopefully from reading this post, you’ve learned that, too.