I have been feeling really down the last couple of weeks. I finally figured out that I miss my Mom. The Mom I knew many years ago before time and illness took its toll. This week is not a milestone week, no birthdays or anniversaries, just a regular week. I did realize that I never really got to have a “grieving process”. I literally went from one crisis to another. Even at the funeral we were having to worry about getting to the next pressing nonmovable issue. So I hope you will allow me a few minutes to tell you what I learned from my mother.
First, is a love of reading. Not just a casual picking up a book, but a crawl in to the pages, have the characters become friends, live in their town, stay up until three in the morning because you don’t want to put it down type of passion. Thanks to my Mom this seed has grown in to a beautiful garden. Full of English poetry, wizarding worlds, mysteries, lords and ladies, as well as hungry caterpillars and hopping on pop. I cried when we lost Charlie Gordon, overthrew governments with Katniss Everdeen, ministered in small towns with Tim Cavanaugh, rooted for Elinor Dashwood to finally get her man, and went on incredible journeys with Frodo to destroy an evil ring. I have had the wonderful opportunity to dive in to worlds that I never knew existed, or really don’t except in someone’s way too fertile mind.
Never miss the opportunity to put a bucket on your head. I think I have forgotten this lately. When Christian was little, he toddled over to my Mom and put a bucket on her head. It stayed there the whole time they were outside. Never said anything about it, seemed as normal as playing in the dirt. It never occurred to her not to do it. How much easier would life be if we didn’t think about the little things and let life see where it takes us? Put a bucket on your head, play in the dirt and listen to what little ones are saying. Makes life much easier that way.
Accept people for who they are. All of us have our idiosyncrasies, vices, issues, good qualities, bad qualities and that all rolled up makes us the person we are. It is not my job to change people or judge them for what they do. If it offends me or makes me uncomfortable that is my problem, not theirs. I am free to choose who my friends are and so are they. But if I get to know the people that I may perceive as “different” I will learn that we are not really that different, may even become great friends, or maybe not. Either way, I have learned more about them and myself. Who knows, they may be just as offended that I have a bucket on my head.
Women are just as capable as men. While that may seem like a “duh” statement but a lot of times it is not. Through my Mom and grandmother, I learned that women can be fiercely independent and hardworking. It never crossed their minds that they couldn’t do whatever they set their mind to. When my Mom wanted a higher education, she worked it out while teaching and raising a family. She had an entire High School library built from scratch because she didn’t listen to the people who told her it couldn’t be done. When she was finished, she went down to the elementary school and did it all again. It was never a case of showing up men or being a movement. She was a brilliant person and expected everyone to see her that way.
Always be willing to help, but don’t become a nuisance. My Mom never really volunteered to do things for other people. She always felt she was being intrusive. She would tell people to let her know if there was anything she could do and she expected you to tell her, but she would not just dive in to other people’s business. If you needed a ride somewhere, help with a bake sale or even a glass of water from the kitchen she would gladly jump up and get it for you. But she never told you what glass you needed or what you needed to bake at the sale. She just served quietly, behind the scenes. No thanks needed, but definitely appreciated. Everyone needs a helping hand every now and again, be there when needed, and know when you are not.
Remember to tell people that you love them and know that you will miss them when they are gone. Thankfully the last time I saw my Mom while she was still coherent I was able to kiss her on the forehead and tell her I loved her. A few days later she was gone. She is now with my Dad. Quietly watching her grandchildren, maybe reading a book, assuredly with a bucket on her head.