Many of the most valuable lessons my mom has taught me through the years have happened subtly — not by words but by example, watching the way she lives her life every day. Lessons like: you always have time to take a genuine interest in others’ lives, be empathetic, always wear sunscreen, and perhaps most of all, enjoy the little moments in life. Unlike many parents who are constantly trying to get their kids to work harder, make better grades, and strive for more success, my mom is usually encouraging me to lighten up and live a little! I think she knows that my Type A tendencies can make it more of a challenge to live in the present and savor the everyday.
Growing up, my mom cooked a great dinner for us every night, and we generally ate really healthfully — you’d never find a can of soda or box of Fruit Loops in our kitchen (the occasional Hot Pocket made an appearance, but hey, this was the early 90’s.) But every once in awhile, for no reason at all, my brother and I would come home from school and my mom would announce that it was Banana Split for Dinner night! She’d halve bananas, scoop out ice cream, make her famous homemade hot fudge, then set out bowls of chopped nuts, strawberries, whipped cream, cherries, and we’d go to town.
It might not sound like anything revolutionary, but those nights left such an impression on me. They taught me the importance of not taking life too seriously; that discipline is important, but it’s not the most important thing, and that life without a little spontaneity and silliness is not really living. Now that I’m a mom myself, I try to remind myself that every single day presents a fresh opportunity to embrace the little moments, and that sometimes you’ve got to go off schedule in order to make time for fun.
Okay, now it’s your turn! In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d love to hear in the comments: what’s the best life lesson your mom (or aunt, or grandmother, or female mentor) ever passed along to you?
And I’d love to hear in the comments: what’s the best life lesson your mom (or aunt, or grandmother, or female mentor) ever passed along to you?