A tiny box in the upper righthand corner of my computer reminds me that today is my mom's 86th birthday. (As if I could forget!)
However, my heart reminds me that she is so much more than those earthly years. She is free from their bonds. I feel her love around me all the time, see her in my face and my actions at times, and still hear her voice... sometimes soothing me or giving me advice ... sometimes teasing me and a tad sarcastic ... but always, always full of love.
On Mama's 77th birthday, I listed the things she had taught me, and then added to it every year. After her death, I expected Lesson #84 to be the last one. It turns out she is still teaching me, so the list continues.
When my friend Byron first mentioned a bunch of us traveling to Italy to spend a week with him and his wife after our high school reunion, I balked. First, there was the issue of time away from my business. It's not just a matter of not being around for my clients, but a good portion of my day is spent trying to find new clients to help keep my business alive ...because of issue #2: finances. We still have some debt to pay off and a house to finish!
There were just so many other things calling out for the money I would spend on a trip to Italy.
But... my mama's lessons came to mind, particularly #41, #58, #70, and #84.
I decided to #30 and just go for it.
The thing is (Mama's favorite phrase), she and Daddy traveled a lot after we were grown up. They drove the west coast from California to Washington, went on a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands, and visited Canada. They went to Disneyworld, Las Vegas, New York City and a bunch of other cities I don't even remember.
But Mama always dreamed of going to Switzerland and she never made it there. I'm not sure what kept them from going - probably finances or health concerns - but by NOT going, she gave me Lesson #86: Don't wait for things to be perfect to travel. Just GO!
Thank you, Mama! You were right, once again! It was a fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime trip that I will treasure forever.
Thank you for all the lessons you gave me, whether intentional or not. You taught more by example than words... just another clue to what a wise woman I was blessed to have as my mother.
Without further ado, here's the complete list with links to her previous birthday posts....
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 - yours or someone else's
- 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
- Appreciate every second you're given, because life is beautiful.
- Treasure the people in your life; take advantage of every chance you have to be with them, or to help them, even on days you don't like them.
- Don't wait for things to be perfect to travel. Just GO!
"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother." ~Abraham Lincoln
Love you, Mama. Happy birthday, and God bless you!