A few days ago, my mom turned sixty. Some of you might be shocked that I’m announcing her age on the web – a very public forum that’s read around the world. She doesn’t go in for that age secrecy stuff though, so I know she won’t mind. She’s proud of who she is and how old she is, and what her life is all about. So she was the first to admit that she had a milestone birthday, and I guess that makes me the second.
What has my mom taught me in the years that she’s lived, for the years that I’ve known her? Well I’ve already mentioned the age thing. Through her actions I’ve seen that it doesn’t matter if people know your age, it just matters if you’re happy with what you’ve done with the years you’ve had in your life so far.
But oh, she’s taught me so much more.
Mom taught me to get out into the world. Little did Mom know that her shy daughter – her “baby” – who cried when she had to go buy shoes when she was little would turn out to be a world traveller when she grew up. Mom used to encourage me to break out of my shell and hey, I think it worked!
Mom taught me that women are smart. She’s smart. I’m smart. We’re all smart if we want to be. Real women don’t hide their brains and we find men who like that we don’t.
Mom taught me that I deserved a man who would respect me. She showed me by example. She found a great one in my Dad and although it took me a few false starts to find one that really clicked (like everybody, I suppose) I found a great one too.
Mom taught me that having kids was the most important thing she did in life. Hey, she had a career too and she was darn good at it. But she always has made me feel so special because she and my dad chose to place a huge importance on raising their family.
Mom taught me to love my husband first and foremost. I’ve already talked about how great my parents’ marriage is and this is a big reason why. They put each other first. I moved back out West to be happiest with my husband in the place that we wanted to live together the most, even though it would mean I wouldn’t be living near my family. That’s what I had to do for us to put our relationship first. And Mom accepted that.
Mom taught me that a person has many layers. There’s a bright red part inside each of us that’s raw and vulnerable and I’ve seen some of hers. In order to be real with people we have to let them in to see that part of us sometimes. It makes our relationships stronger if we can.
Mom taught me to have fun. We joke and we’re sarcastic and we try not to take things so seriously all the time. We laugh, we two.
Mom taught me to sing. Figuratively and literally. She stops and smells the roses almost better than anyone I know, and tries to enjoy life to the fullest. I try to do the same. She also showed me that music is wonderful and that I have music inside of me that needs to burst out now and then.
Mom taught me to learn. Of course being a teacher this is what she would have done. But I don’t think even all teachers have a zest for learning inside them like my Mom does. For some of them it’s just a job. For her, it’s who she is. It was catching.
Mom turned sixty this week. It doesn’t seem like very much time – when I think of it – for her to have gotten through teaching me all those things I just mentioned.
She’s pretty great. First of all as a person, and second of all, as my Mom.