It didn't hit me until today, but I'm sure my mom must have been a bit nervous as the birth of my first child drew close. After all...
- I had been the baby of our family... and relished the role
- As a little girl, I preferred stuffed animals to baby dolls.
- My only two babysitting gigs were with older children.
- I had never even changed a diaper!
Despite all of that, she bit her tongue and only offered advice, or shared experience, when asked. She was there with us in the hospital when he was born, but once home, she left us alone to figure out our new roles and relationships.
It went beyond just trusting me not to inadvertently kill him. I felt she truly believed in my ability to be a good mother, and that gave me the confidence I needed to trust my own instincts, and even to ask for her advice when necessary.
I'm sure I did things differently than she did, but if she ever gave advice, it was offered in such a way that I didn't feel the need to defend my decisions or methods. I read all of the baby books I could get my hands on and subscribed to Parents magazine, but it helped knowing she was there as a major resource, or at least a sounding board.
When my grandson was born a few months ago, my mind naturally traveled back to those days. As usual, I turned to my mom; I started channeling her to help me in my new, unfamiliar role as grandmother. After all, it had been years since I held a newborn or changed a diaper!
His birth triggered so many memories, and I felt myself wanting to talk about my own experience, but I bit my tongue (or tried to), realizing my chatting may be taken as criticism.
Because despite the fact that this is their first, I knew beyond doubt they would be wonderful parents, even if they did some things differently than I did. Every child is different, with different needs, so there is no one "right" way, anyway.
And obviously, they are doing an awesome job.
(My Mama would just eat him up, I know.)
I'll continue channeling her as he grows to help me stay close, but on the sidelines, ready and willing to help with whatever is needed, and always strictly adhering to their guidelines. I hope to at least come close to being the grandmother she was...
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, and I imagine it will as I continue on into all the new territory that comes with growing older. Thank you for being such a great teacher, Mama, without ever utttering one lecture. (That's one lesson of hers I didn't learn, unfortunately! Sorry kids!)
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
- persistence 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!
- How to be a good grandmother
Happy birthday, Mama, and thank you. I miss you.
"My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words, but I always remember the tune." ~Terri Guillemets