Lessons learned from my mother

When I describe my family to my friends and I get to my mother, I say: “Oh, and my mom – she’s like the sun”. She is sunshine and a thunderstorm. She is fire and ocean waves, filled with life. My mother is a powerful, storm of a woman, and you will not be left unchanged in her presence.

Lessons learned from my mother: don’t be afraid. My mom taught me about courage and tenacity. She showed me, in her relentless love of frustrating human beings, the value of consistency.

My mom was my school teacher at home. She taught me math and science, and found ways to bring adventure into our learning. I did science experiments at the kitchen table, and learned the names of birds we fed in the backyard. She found ways to make learning fun, and helped my wander-y, dyslexic little self find joy and delight in words, field trips, and magic.

From watching my mom interact with people, I learned what it is to love boldly, and to take no bullshit. She showed (and continues to show) me that there is no person too rough, too much, too annoying, too broken, too whatever to love. And my mother’s love is a powerful thing.

My mom taught me to laugh and to dream. And then, with my little head filled with dreams and possibilities, she helped me one by one form them into reality. My mom is a person of action, and she taught me the value of breathing life into dreams and getting my hands dirty.

Every morning of my life (that I can remember), I found my mom sitting in her chair with a bible, journal, and cup of earl grey tea. As a noisy, energetic child, she wouldn’t shoo me away, but invited me to have quite time with her (at least, this is what I remember – although I wouldn’t have blamed her one bit for wanting some space). From my mother, I learned the importance of ritual, as I too began to drink my earl grey in the morning and take time to be still.

My mother loves to tell stories, to laugh, to smile, to sit around the living room, or woman cave (yes, my mother has a woman cave, and it’s one of the most delightful things in this world) talking and being together.

My mom is a practical woman, who works magic with lists, problem solving, and a knack for seeing beyond the surface. She is intuitive and reads people easily and quickly. She is clever and sassy. My mother taught me about drama – both how to avoid it, and how to be as dramatic as one desires.

She taught me how to sew and how to sing. How to find my voice, and how to use my hands to make beautiful things. We still lay out quilts together, and sing hymns from time to time in the blessed woman cave.

My mom stayed with me when I almost died. Multiple times. Caring for me, loving me, believing in me, not letting me give up. She’s the wind in my sails, and a rock that always calls me home.

She taught me about making a welcome, and creating space to be beautiful, cozy, and full of life. She taught me how to cook (albeit I was a rocky learner there for a bit), and as I watched her host hundreds of rag-tag people in our home, the sacredness of space, food, and community.

My mother taught me about family, and being honest and true with those you love. She taught me the value in showing up, again and again, and how that changes a person. I’m grateful for her lessons, both intentional and the ones I learned by watching.

I love you, mom!


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