How My Mother Mothers

My mom told me the other day that she is afraid to answer the phone when I call because too frequently she picks up to hear me sobbing on the other side of the line in pain. I felt really bad for her in that moment but I also couldn't help thinking, "but she picks up anyways...." She always picks up. That's just the way she mothers...she mother's in that way that she truly experiences her child's pain as if it is her own. The difference between a superb mother and a good mother is that a superb mother's empathy for their child has no bounds. My mom suffers right along side me but is equally as joyous as I am when my heart is truly happy. So that means that she is genuinely experiencing my pain as her own as I sit on the other end of that line sobbing and yet she still picks up. She puts me first. She doesn't want to hear my agony, yet again, but she picks up anyways because she knows that being truly alone in those moments is so much worse for me that she sucks it up.

She mothers with the biggest heart and the most generous spirit. If I compliment her bag, she literally takes it off of her body and hands it to me and then insists that I take it....that's the kind of generosity that I am talking about. When Jay met my mom, he said that she was the most generous person that he ever met. I remember thinking that I am so glad that I always recognized that trait in her and that I always told her how grateful I was for it because it would be so easy to go through life with that as the "norm" and not appreciate it until he came into our family and said it. Her generosity stems far beyond anything that money can buy because she is generous with her heart, her time, and every single aspect of her life....That's just how my mother mothers.

This Mother's Day, I'd like to share some of the most important lessons that my mom taught me. These are the things that she drilled in to us repeatedly until they stuck. Does anyone else still hear their mom's voice inside their head as they are doing something? I think that's when you know their lessons worked haha.

Things That My Mom Taught Me:

That "love is never wrong." I remember her telling us from a very young age that we could love whoever we wanted to, whether it was a boy or a girl. She would always say, "love is never wrong" and that was during a time when people just didn't talk about homosexuality like we do now and I remember thinking that it was cool that she would talk about it.  

That trust is so important. She demonstrated to me that she trusted me and therefore I trusted her. I also learned to trust myself. I learned to trust my gut and go with my instincts. I realized that I had value through that trust. I learned that I could tell her anything. She was secure with the values that she instilled in me and trusted my decision making to the point that she didn't grill me about "if people were drinking" and I didn't get wasted out of my mind because I respected that trust.

How to make a house feel like a home. She taught me about home decor and making your house beautiful. She also taught me about making a home that is inviting and welcoming people into it. She hosted so many parties with family friends and an insane amount of sleepovers for my sister and I. She was just always having all of my friends down to the beach house. She must have wanted to walk around with ear plugs but I don't remember her ever seeming unhappy about it...I just remember her making our house feel like a home. She made a point of letting us know that our friends were always welcome at our house...and she provided the endless snacks to support the revolving door! In turn, she became close with my friends and created a home that I feel so grateful to have grown up in. I continue to land myself back on her couch time and time again and that homey feeling surrounds me all over again. 

To let the small stuff roll off my shoulders.

That I was beautiful. I joke that she told me that I was beautiful too much because I remember her saying it over and over again in a variety of ways. Now, she tells me that she did a bunch of things to try and make sure that her girls didn't grow up with body image issues. Then, I just thought that she thought that I was America's Next Top Model. She made me feel so good when I walked down the stairs in my outfit each day. She still randomly looks at me across the table and says, "how did I get a daughter that is so pretty?" Those little glimpses and gushes made me believe that I was beautiful and more importantly, that I was worthy of being chosen...of being loved. 

That family and relationships in general are the most important. Foster them, foster them, foster them.

To respect her decisions. She never said no just to say no. We never heard things like "because I said so" or "because I'm in charge." She said yes a lot and I could see that she would say yes because she wanted to. I remember over hearing her talk to my dad and hearing how much she wanted us to be happy in her voice. It's funny because parent's don't think that kids pick up on a lot but I specifically remembering being a kid and overhearing my mom's voice as she explained to my dad why she thought I should get to go to a sleepover. She really wanted me to be happy and I knew that. She explained her decisions and "brought us in" on her decision making process. She explained things. She didn't just leave it at "no."  So...when said said no, we respected it. We didn't utter any complaints or beg for a different outcome. No meant no and we left it at that because she engrained that respect in us, she didn't just tell us to give it to her.

To pick and choose my battles. Love>>>>>hate

That your kids will always be your kids, regardless of how old they get. The woman has showered her adult child way too many times to count since this accident. I'm not "my own problem" or "Jay's problem" in any shape or form. She is there for me until the end of time. 

To be a forever student. She will never be done learning and trying to expand her mind. It's too easy to get comfortable as we age and she won't ever quit learning. All of the photographs in this post are ones that she has taken and I am so proud her talent + hard work in everything that she does.

To be empathetic. You can hardwire your brain to sit in other people's emotional seats and this woman hard wired the heck out of mine. She took it a step further and showed me what to do with that empathy. She demonstrated how to be insanely selfless to the point that her face is in the dictionary next to that word now. 

To love Dave Matthews band. And how to sneak up to the front row at his concerts. 

That helping people is important.