My mother, who was born with a spirit of independence and "where there's a will there's a way" ... who was my quadriplegic brother's primary caregiver even while working full-time ... who others (not just family) always turned to for help ...
... well, now she is dependent on a machine for oxygen, a wheelchair for mobility, and other people to help her with practically everything else.
She tries hard not to push that little white button that will summon help. Not because of false pride, but because she doesn't want to abuse the assistance.
She knows from personal experience how exhausting it can be, mentally and physically, to help a person with all of their basic needs, and she truly appreciates the aides who help her with hers. She hears other residents complaining, whining, constantly asking for help, so Mama tries to make sure she only calls when it's a real need.
(Sometimes she misjudges - and breaks her femur.)
When the aides and nurses come to help, she jokes with them and smiles often. So naturally, it seems they stop by to see her more often than the other residents. Wouldn't you?
She's a smart lady, my Mama.
But she has no ulterior motive in being pleasant. She just truly appreciates how hard they work.
They're not gray hairs. They're wisdom highlights.
Today is her 83rd birthday. We had a little party on Sunday, but the celebration has continued with cards and cookies arriving in the mail, and visitors bringing more sweets and balloons. I think she stayed in bed all day, which has always been one of her favorite pasttimes.
On her 77th birthday, I listed the things she had taught me in a blog post, and I've added to it every year. So without further ado, here's the list...
Things Mama has taught me...
- it's never too late to learn something new
- if you have a choice between laughter and tears, choose laughter.
- don't let anyone mess with your babies!
- only give advice when asked for it (I'm still working on that one)
- pray every day
- pray some more
- reading a good book might not solve your problems, but it's a nice escape from them
- bend but never break
- some people are just takers
- be nice whenever possible, but sometimes nice doesn't cut it
- take care of family
- we're all individuals - let your kids blossom into themselves, not "mini-me's"
- be there
- Johnny Weismuller is the best movie Tarzan
- don't be in a rush to be older than you are - you're only going to be this age once in your life
- if you like something, and you'll use it, and you can afford it, then buy it, or you'll regret it later
- quality over quantity
- never think "can't"
- people will stand in line for a dead skunk if it's free
- roll with the punches
- have fun
- laugh often
- believe in yourself
- don't let others change who you are
- be honest
- don't steal
- forgive yourself
- God loves me
- don't judge
- just do it!
- inside matters more than outside
- don't use God's name in vain
- you can learn anything if you put your mind to it
- you're never too old to dance
- it's okay to ask for help
- show appreciation and express gratitude
- use my manners
- consider the source
- an office or position of authority should be respected, but the individual in that position has to earn your respect
- sleep is good
- take advantage of opportunities
- keep your eyes open and your wits about you
- people aren't always nice
- things can't make you happy
- use your imagination
- just get started and the rest will be easy
- don't be intimidated by anyone - we're all the same, all human, we all have strengths and weaknesses
- you can love someone even if you don't like them
- forgive but don't forget
- learn from others' mistakes
- there are times for being patient, and time for putting your foot down
- speak up
- stand up for what you believe in
- admit your mistakes and expect others to do the same
- persistance pays off
- let your kids be kids
- love unconditionally
- take lots of pictures
- kids grow up fast
- your kids need a mother, not another friend
- pets are family
- help others
- a sense of humor is essential for sanity and survival
- if you look close enough, you can find something to love about everyone
- coffee is good anytime
- messes can be cleaned up
- prayer works
- God is strong all the time - let him carry you
- if you say you're going to do something, do it
- be nice to yourself in case no one else is
- you have to show respect to get respect
- girls are tough
- don't put up with temper tantrums
- listen to your body - doctors don't know everything
- don't say everything you're thinking
- asking questions is the best way to learn something
- your babies are always your babies (and their babies are your babies, too!)
- God is.
- Just listen.
- people are more important than things
- there is a time to help others, and a time to let others help you
- God has his reasons, and He will give you whatever strength you need for the road ahead...and never leave you to walk it alone.
- smile and show appreciation to those who are willing to help you - they may have it tougher than you in many ways