Things I learned from my Mom

This has forever been a phrase used by mom. I can remember being very young, and my brothers and I rolling our eyes and mocking my mom’s insistence on this idea whenever we’d find ourselves lacking empathy or making assumptions about those who appeared to have it tougher than we did. She was never scared or threatened by people, and to this day she’ll still challenge our knee jerk reactions or propensities to live in fear or judgment. I’m really glad for her insistence, as it is something I hope to impart on my own kids someday. She and my dad truly lived this motto, and while at the time I was often weirded out by the array of people at our Christmas dinner table, or their “he/she is harmless” attitude, I now am so proud to have been raised this way. Having perspective is so important in life.


And that it is so, so worth the hunt.


My mom is seriously unshaken by most things and people in this world. I think it’s a really meaningful thing to be raised by someone who very, very infrequently is brought to anger or rage by any event—it’s taught me that the small stuff really isn’t worth sweating, and that the world has never and will never be out to get me unless I let it. And although I wish I more naturally had her temperament (I’m much quicker to fluster than she is), I value this characteristic in others and try to ground myself to it when someone or something is affecting me more than it should.


                               In order to never settle and never be naive.


At what point did the light bulb turn on and my mind splatter upon realizing that the Joneses must in fact be the Loudermilks, our best family friends? It is with much humor that I look back on it now, how small your frame of reference is when you’re a kid, but truly, my mom was an incredible example in the importance of never pretending to be who and what you aren’t, and to just be genuinely happy for others. She was always very transparent about who she was and who we were as a family, and I held such great pride in, and love for, our own little special and fun and crazy world that I still just think is the very best, independent of where everyone else stood. It’s helped me to be quite comfortable in my own skin and take great pleasure, rather than jealousy or resentment, in other people’s good times.


Frye boots, in particular.                                          


She was the only girl with two brothers, and I’m the only girl with two brothers. My mom has always had male friends and a certain confidence and comfort level with the opposite sex. I think it has helped me have a healthy relationship with guys and girls alike—never being scared to be myself, but also knowing the importance of having thick enough skin to always stand up for myself and what I believe.


And how to trust that she’d always keep mine.                


As soon as I was able to articulate my thoughts or challenge my mom’s way of thinking, my mom was open to discussing almost everything with me. She is so smart, and very opinionated, but what has always commanded her the most respect is her humility and openness to what she can learn from others, no matter their age, role, or experience. I often felt that my mom was learning how to be a parent at the same rate that we were learning how to be parented, and she never tried to hide that; she actually embraced it. She is quick to apologize and admit when she’s wrong, and she always thought about every argument and disagreement after the fact, willing to consider opposing sides to every issue. I’ve never met a more self deprecating person, willing to laugh at herself or be brutally honest about her own shortcomings. How refreshing is that in a friend, a leader, a parent?


In order to not spill, look straight ahead, and never at the cup.                        


Although a relatively common mantra, it is one my mom uses sparingly and seriously, and I have always held such strong belief in it coming from her. When something felt like I’d never make it through, these were words I could actually wrap my head around, and to this day it’s a thought I find unbelievably comforting.


My mom goes above and beyond and it’s noticed. My entire life I’ve played witness to my mom’s efforts to do more than she’s required to, more than is expected of her, and accommodate others, even strangers, in any way she can. It has paid dividends in my life to strive to be the same way, whether in school, at work, or in relationships. It’s an enormous differentiator among people, and I’m so thankful to have been (begrudgingly) pushed to do so through her example.


To anyone... at any time... all the time... especially regarding directions. But in all seriousness, my mom has taught me to be curious about the world around me.



Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas who light up the lives of so many around them.


PS: On marriage and divorce, Dinner with friends and round-table discussion