My mother was the first to tell me that little girls could be mean on the playground. There was nothing I could do about their behavior but a lot I could do about mine. I learned to wear dresses the proper way from my mother. Are we still teaching little girls the proper way to sit in a dress, cross their ankles, walk. I remember the first time I got to wear lipgloss and those mini heels that every little girl wears as her first introduction to being a woman. I felt so special walking in that half inch pump.
I learned to write Thank You cards first from watching her sit down and write one after attending a dinner party or receiving a gift. Then after I was old enough, young really, and had received a grandparent gift in the mail, I was given the task of sending the Thank You note back in the mail. It seemed silly at the time. All this fuss over something I didn’t want. I should send her a Thank You note right now for teaching me this lost art.
She was the one who taught me those antiquated notions of self respect and confidence that transitioned smoothly from dating, don’t chase boys, to job interviews, you are good enough for the best jobs. Holding my head high and walking tall is important to my Mother, yes because it makes anything you wear look better but also because it makes you feel better. You smile at people more, look them in the eye, face the world fully engaged. It’s the way she does things and she passed this lesson on to me.
Being a wife is learned too. I didn’t just wake up a perfect model of wifeliness (you can laugh hysterically here). From my Mother I learned to ignore the little things that poke at a marriage and focus on the big things that make marriage wonderful. She taught me that two people living under the same roof is unnatural. There will be adjustments and a learning curve, probably every few years. Because marriage doesn’t coast, it is waking up every day and deciding that this is the person I married and love and will continue to love until tomorrow when I tell myself the same thing all over again. When I forget to do this then I forget to work at it.
Then there was God, I learned about Him on my Mother’s knee. She read me every Bible story until they became vivid pictures in my mind. She and my Father made God real in our home. Sure we went to church but we also brought our thoughts and doubts to the table. No topic was off limits. Everyone got a voice and God could be tested. That’s important to children, teens, adults.
Learning from my Mother was not like getting a life map handed to me, wish it had been. She didn’t sit me down and tell me the meaning of life. She does, however, always have the nicer way of doing things. It’s just nicer to shake with a firm hand, smile and introduce yourself to a stranger than not. It’s nicer to help people in need. It’s nicer to go through life being the person you can look back and be proud of at least most of the time. That’s all she wanted for us growing up, a life with as few scratches to our core as possible. And if we could do it while walking in heels then job done.