Today is my mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!). I thought she deserves a blog tribute even more than my dad, so here it is:
First, a note of thanks. Mom, thanks for everything you taught me, it’s more than you know. There’s no way to ever repay you, but hopefully I can pay it forward to my children.
A lot of Mom’s lessons echo Dad’s lessons. After all, you usually end up marrying and staying with someone that shares a lot of your values.
Now, Mom’s Lessons
Be grateful and give back: My mom has a strong faith, something that took me awhile to come around to. I think after years of attending church with her, then not going for a couple of years, I missed the fellowship, the music, and especially the feeling that you are grateful for what you have. There’s also that feeling that if you have been given much, then you should be expected to give back.
Hard Work/Academics are important. I think my mom had high expectations for doing my well in school, but I remember that she was always reading and learning too. She ended up going back to school to get her teaching credential and her Master’s degree, and now teaches first grade, which she really loves. I think there were a couple of science fair projects that she did more than I did, but that’s the way it goes sometimes (Mom: remember when we had to find a bible verse that had something to do with my crystal-growing project? Don’t know how you did it.)
Sometimes, it’s the little things: Some of my fondest memories growing up with her are the smallest things. How she used to take me to class in Berkeley and then we’d get a slice at Blondie’s, or the way she would pretend that the car was haunted and insisted on going grocery shopping after church.
The importance of Family: Mom grew up in a big family (9 kids in a 3 bedroom house!). Family dinners at her parents’ house were always crowded. She still is the center of the family, the one everyone goes to for the latest news about the rest of us. My siblings and I don’t call each other enough, but at least through Mom we can find out what’s going on.
Libraries/Reading: It was always a family outing to go to the library. She tells me that I once said I was going to read every book, “starting from here”. I’d say that’s still a goal, but they keep writing new books! She read to me a lot as a kid, and to this day it’s in the top three of things I like to do.
Fiscal Prudence: Mom taught me about managing money, how to find bargains, etc. She knew that if you saved money, you could get nicer things. She encouraged me to date women that wouldn’t flinch at using a coupon at a restaurant.
Love Music: Mom plays piano and sings in the choir. It’s because of her that I love music of all types. I never stuck with any instrument long enough to be as good as she is at piano, which is unfortunate. Mom got me a record player and a crate full of classical music for christmas one year, and I think I listened to them constantly. I can’t imagine trying to go to sleep listening to Bach’s harpsichord pieces, but I actually did when I was a kid. Fun fact: To me, a harpsichord sounds like a “robot piano”.
If there are a bunch of excuses why you can’t buy something now, you’re probably getting it for Christmas. Remember the rubber stamp kit, mom? I do.
Be Generous: Mom found some really great charities. She sends care packages to children including school supplies, books, and clothing. She encouraged me when I was young to learn to give to others.