I don't like to admit it but I can be kind of tough on my mom. Especially when it comes to the little things in life.
Like last summer when we were helping my aunt get ready for my cousin's graduation party.
It was a pretty warm day and there were a couple fans going. It was so breezy that our hair was wafting and papers were stirring.
And then... my mom gave me instructions on using plastic cling wrap in the windy kitchen.
You know, the roll of thin plastic that comes in a yellow box with a serrated edge. When you pull it out and rip it off, it sticks to itself.
Anyway, while my mom was trying to help me, I basically rolled my eyes like a 15-year-old.
And then the worst part... I realized she was right! Her advice was spot on. Damn it. Aren't mothers supposed to be wrong?!
With it being Mother's Day, I thought it's time to recognize our mothers for everything they taught us — the little lessons and the big ones.
Here are some of my favorite lessons from my own mother:
1. Be yourself.
Whether it was talking to my 24-year-old imaginary friend, Johnny, when I was four or starting a sparkle club that was all about glitter at seven, my mother never stopped me.
One of the greatest gifts she gave me was the support to explore my creativity and accepting the results unconditionally.
Looking back, I kind of wonder whether she was just glad that I was entertaining myself.
Either way, I have continued to grow in my confidence to become more of myself.
2. Make your own.
While my sister likes to refer to us as faux farm girls, the skills I gained in our farmhouse kitchen are very real.
A few years ago, I experienced several failed attempts at my Grandma Frieda's pie crust that ended in tears and store-bought pies.
So in 2013, I showed up the night before Thanksgiving for a lesson from the master: my mother.
Next up? These sticky delicious caramel rolls her Grandma Myrtle made from a "secret" family recipe.
You know... the one that was included in all the big Tupperware bowls that were sold in the 1970s. Guess it wasn't so secret.
3. Accept others.
Whenever I judged myself, someone else or anything as weird, my mother would always correct me. Even today, I can hear her say, "Not weird. Just different."
While I couldn't see it as a child, today I see the substantial difference she was trying to get across. And I'm grateful for her persistence on this.
4. Get an education.
When I didn't want to take tests for placement in advanced math and reading in junior high school because I was afraid of not fitting in, my mother saw something I couldn't at the time.
She knew that no one could ever take education away from us. Our houses can burn down. Our cars can be stolen. But no one can take away our educational achievements.
And I'm glad she pushed for those tests. Without them, I would never have learned that I actually can understand Calculus and still have trouble adding 11+12 in my head.
5. Try anything once.
Between the ages of three and 18, my list of attempted activities looked something like this:
Tap dance classes. Swimming lessons. Ballet. Piano lessons. Musicals. Softball. Art camp. Band. Swimming club. Flute lessons. Basketball. Basket weaving classes. Tennis lessons. Orchestra. Plays.
Based on this list, I think my mother would love this quote from Marie Forleo:
"Clarity comes from engagement, not thought."
I never made a basket in fourth grade. I rarely practiced dancing at home. And I spent more time weaving dandelions into my softball glove than paying attention.
But I was willing to try just about anything and that's all my parents asked of me. And they respected my decision when I didn't want to do something a second time.
And while I found a lot of things I didn't like, I am lucky that music and swimming turned into lifelong loves.
Conclusion: Love others.
Overall, I am a more loving, creative and compassionate person because of my mom.
And I wouldn't be who I am today if she hadn't been teaching me these little lessons along the way.