My mom has taught me many, many things in my thirty-one years, but there are things I have learned from my Mom that she may not realize she has taught me. Things that I have learned more through observation than actual direct instruction. And, I happen to think that these lessons may be the best.
Lesson #1: Never Pass Up an Opportunity to Dance
To dance in your living room to be precise. Some favorite tunes of ours were "Caribbean Queen" by Billy Ocean and "Penny Lover" by Lionel Richie. Dancing with my Mom is one of my fondest memories, although I am more than a little disappointed that I didn't inherit her ability to moonwalk. If Michael were still here, she would have no trouble competing with him in a dance-off.
Lesson #2: Bathroom Privacy is Overrated
Whenever my Mom would retire to the bathroom for a much deserved soak in the tub, one of us (meaning my sister or myself) would immediately have some pressing matter that we would have to come in and discuss with her. And, when my brother was a toddler, he would suddenly get the urge to "do math" whenever my Mom was taking a bath. He would sit on the toilet while my Mom quizzed him on simple addition and subtraction. Now that I think of it, there may have been a ten year span where my Mom was not able to bathe in peace and quiet. Okay, so maybe the lesson isn't that bathroom privacy is overrated, but that it is nice to make your children think that it is.
Lesson #3: Alcohol is Dangerous
My Mom is not a drinker, and when she does partake of alcohol she does things like fall off chairs into closets or steal decorations from restaurants, the latter of the two happening at my 21st birthday party, which took place at the local boat club. At one point in the night, my Mom thought it was a very sound idea to steal a decoration from the bar. But this was no little thing that could be stuck covertly into a purse. This was a large piece made out of dock pilings, rope, and, I think, a fisherman's net. How we got this out unnoticed I cannot say, but the next morning, when my Mom was back in her right mind, she was stricken with remorse. And, of course, she had to return it. Although, I doubt they believed her "this accidentally got mixed in with my daughter's birthday gifts" story.
Lesson #4: Never Forget Your Sense of Humor
My Mom is really very funny. And, being around her can make even the most boring of events fun. Although, you must know that sitting by her at events will most often lead to uncontrolled laughing, which results in a loss of focus on the actual event, and a subsequent label as the "bad table" accompanied by some glares (mostly from people who have no sense of humor).
Lesson #5: Give of Yourself to Others
I didn't always realize as a child how often my Mom went without things so that the three of us could have everything that we needed and most of what we wanted. But, as I got older, my Mom's giving spirit became apparent to me, and it is one of the things that I admire most about her. And her selflessness extends way beyond the things that she does for her kids. She gives from her heart in a truly sacrificial way--to charities, to food banks, to friends and family members, even people she doesn't know, who are in need--without even a thought. She once told me that she gives to others because she feels lucky that she can, that her needs are met, so if she can help someone else with theirs she will. My Dad has even joked that she would give away all their money if she could. Those she has helped know how giving she is, but she doesn't do it for recognition or personal gain. While some people win prestigious awards for their charity, there are people like my Mom who quietly give and give and make the world a better place in their own little way.
Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful Mom, and all the moms out there who raise their children with love and humor.