Typically, we learn from our role models’ behaviors, not from their words. This is true of what I learned from my mom.
Some of her best advice, while probably true, is not what taught me the most:
- Never wear white and beige together.
- Never wear silver and gold together.
- Never wear navy and black together.
- Height doesn’t matter in bed.
The most important, most meaningful things I learned from my mom came from her actions:
- She values education and earned a college degree.
- She worked outside the home.
- She reads voraciously.
- She’s always watched her weight but she’s not obsessed.
- She values her friends by spending time with them and remembering important occasions.
- She attends church regularly and volunteers.
- She does the right thing even when she didn’t like it, like cleaning her father’s filthy house on her trips home after her mother died.
- She compromises with my father (he compromises, too — that’s the beauty of compromise rather than fighting).
- She likes her mother-in-law.
- She’s willing to learn new things and go to new places (especially remarkable for a girl who grew up in a tiny town in western North Dakota). I especially love how she is always trying new recipes.
- She loves me unconditionally. Even though I am not gay, criminal or a single mother, I could come out to her, she would visit me in jail and she would love my bastard child no matter what. And she would try at least one bite of any failed dish I put in front of her and say, “well, this is different” instead of “yuk, tofu — what were you thinking?”
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!