First and foremost, this is my 100th blog post! Holy cow!
I wanted to make this a special post, so I hope I did a good job of that.
I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot lately. Although I’m 25 and married, I live 350+ miles away from my mom, so I miss her quite a bit. And I’m okay with that because she’s my mom and she taught me a lot, showed me what real motherly love is, and (in my opinion) raised me to be a mature but silly, intelligent but empathetic, independent but humble, and loving but tough woman.
I’ve often thought about writing a book about my mom’s life because I think she is a remarkable woman – even if I wrote about my own life, she would play a central character in it. She’s gone through so much in her life, and if you know her then you understand what I’m talking about.
Instead of thinking about the frustrating and/or sad things surrounding my mom, though, I find myself reflecting on little (and big) things that I don’t necessarily realize I have picked up from her. If you told me when I was younger that I would pick up or appreciate some of these things, I would laugh at you and say, “Yeah, right.”
So here we go, here are some things my mom passed on to me.
My baby face. If you know me, then you know I’ve often talked about being told I look like I’m a high school student. I don’t think my facial features have changed much since graduating high school (other than my teeth, thanks to Invisalign) so I’ve gotten asked my age a lot since then.
I know that people always tell me, “Oh, you’ll appreciate it when you’re older!” But when I was trying to be taken seriously and get a professional job as a teacher, it was difficult when the principals, teachers, and even students looked at me as being similar to a high school student, if only by looks. Obviously that makes me seem unqualified and inexperienced.
Luckily now I have a job, but I still get that comment at least once a week. I was even questioned by the school nurse this past September when I went down and she was about to deny me a feminine product because students aren’t allowed to use them. Heck, my hairdresser just mentioned it again to me today, that the first time I came in to the salon back in October, she thought I was 18. Well, that’s all thanks to my mom; she always looked at least 10 years younger than she actually was.
My love of crosswords. When I was younger, my mom’s right hand seemingly always had a blue stain on it from using erasable pens while doing crossword puzzles. She always had a crossword dictionary at the ready for when she just couldn’t seem to think of the answer. We also had a coffee mug with crosswords on it. That’s how much they were present in our house.
I think she has gone through 4 of those paperback crossword dictionaries (the spines always break, so she has to duct tape them back together), but she swears that the particular one she has always used is the best out there. And for birthdays or Christmas, it was always a safe bet to buy her crossword books. The hard ones. Like New York Times hard. She’s so smart and has done crosswords for years, so she knows all of these answers!
When I got a little older (like, 10), she would leave the less difficult answers blank and ask me to help her fill them in. As I grew up, I began getting my own crossword books; you know, the ones with EASY written on the front in gigantic letters so that you knew they were flipping EASY. As time went on, I was able to help my mom with the more difficult ones: Spanish translations, typical crossword clues, ones with more modern clues/answers, etc.
Now I have a few books of my own – they don’t have EASY on the front, but they aren’t the super hard ones like my mom does. Mostly because I take them with me when I might have some downtime and want to do a puzzle or two and so therefore don’t want to lug a dictionary with me everywhere. Yes, I’m sure there’s an app for that, but I’d just assume not have to use one on the go. Thus, I’m not able to fill them out completely without looking at the answers in the back. But I’ve found I’m better than the average person (not to sound cocky at all. I mean, come on, how can you be cocky about crosswords? Unless that’s what you base your self-esteem on and go to competitions and stuff like that. Well then, good for you, but that’s not for me).
Thanks for my intelligence and weird love of crosswords, Mom.
My compassion for others with differences. Ever since I was young, my mom would always make sure I understood that just because someone was different did not mean they were inferior in any way. I was told that I shouldn’t make fun of people just because they spoke different, looked different, walked different, thought different, or lacked the ability to do things that I could.
Sure, growing up as a dumb little elementary/middle school girl, of course I said some mean things here and there. But I honestly don’t think I was ever mean to the point of being cruel or making someone cry.
Especially because I HATE WHEN PEOPLE CRY. I’m a very sensitive soul; my mom will be the first to tell you that. I hated when people made me feel bad, so therefore I hated making other people feel bad. I was always able to put myself in their shoes, because that’s what my mom instilled in me from a young age.
Sure this has backfired on me a lot because I would tend to hold back feelings so as to not rock the boat. I would let people make snide comments and not defend myself. But now that I’m grown, I am able to defend myself without being mean and nasty. Plus, with all that’s happened in my life surrounding my mom, I know I’m much more compassionate than I would have been had my life been different.
Thanks for teaching me compassion and love, Mom.
So obviously there are many more things that I’ve learned from my mom, but I figured I would start with these three. If you liked this, let me know and maybe I’ll write another sometime.
Feel free to comment something(s) that you value about your mom or have picked up from your mom because moms and other motherly figures are important and need to be appreciated and valued much more than they are.