Friday, January 8, 2010

Task #3: Instant Choirs, An exercise in Valuing Moms

Ok first off, what happened to the spell check option?  I cannot see the best and I use spell check all the time.  However I seem to have lost the ability on the blog.  Excuse my spelling or help me.  lol :)  

Task #3:  Instant Choirs, An exercise in Valuing Moms
Write down 5 things your mom has done to help you become the person you are today.  Share the list with her if possible.  

     My mom passed away in 1992 so I cannot share this with her, so I will share with you.  I always think about her around the holidays.  Actually starting around Halloween as her birthday was the 30th of October and through the holiday season.

  1. Unconditional love and acceptance.  My mother always showed me unconditional love and acceptance even when she disagreed with my choices.   This helped me to make my own choices without fear of losing her love.  I remember once in high school I did something I was very ashamed of, I got caught and had to face the consequences of my actions.  I was devastated, embarrassed and humiliated.  I ran home to my mom crying and told her all about it.  She did not try to fix it, she did not criticize me for it, she did not even reprimand me.  She listened, hugged me, dried my tears and asked me what I wanted to do about it.  I will never forget how she made me feel that day.  When I think about how she handled this situation I realize how differently it could have gone if she had not supported me. It may have even changed the course of my life. Not only did she teach me about love but also about taking responsibility for my own choices. I have often thought about her response when I have had to deal with disappointment from my own children's behavior.  I can only hope that my children know that I love and accept them even if I do not agree with their choices. My mother set the bar high for me.
  2. Resiliency.  My mother taught me to be Resilient.  Resilience is defined as a dynamic process that individuals exhibit positive behavioral adaptation when they encounter significant adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress.  I will not go into great detail, but suffice it to say that I experienced great trauma, tragedy, threats and significant sources of stress while living with my mother.  Some of these things were because of choices my mother made and some were because other people made bad choices.  However through it all I saw my mother push on, trying to make her life better even if she never quite got it right.  I learned that tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to try again. I learned that happiness does not come from the situation you are in, it comes from inside of you.  I learned to pick myself up and try again.   Even though I would not wish my childhood on anyone, I would not trade it. It taught me to be independent and strong. The experiences I went through have made me who I am today.  For that I am grateful.
  3. To be a decent cook.  My mother could be a good cook if she took the time to do it.  When she was in a hurry or impatient it was not that good.  I do the same thing.  I tend to get sidetracked or impatient and can burn things.  But if I take my time and do it from scratch, like she taught me, it can be a good meal.  Three of my favorite meals are meals she taught me to cook.  Lasagna, her best meal, I use her recipe to this day.  Goulash, think I will make some today.  Potato soup, one of my favorites in the winter.  She made her own spaghetti sauce from scratch.  I remember smelling the sauce simmer all day long.  It was fabulous.  We always teased that she could not cook, but really we did not go hungry.  She could throw together a meal out of basically nothing.  That has helped me more times than I can count. 
  4. Organization.  OK those of you who know me well will laugh at that.  But really she did teach me how to be organized.  I just struggle with it.  She was organized.  She kept a clean house and knew where everything was.  She started everyday with a cup of coffee, a cigarette, paper and pen.  She would make a to do list every day.  She would cross of her accomplishments.  I do that as well.  I am a list maker and I learned that from her. I also learned that making lists and crossing off my accomplishments helps me feel productive.  Maybe that is why she did it?
  5. Creativity.  My mom taught me to be creative.   My mother taught me to sew at a young age.  She used to sew for us a lot.  I wanted a vanity once. My mother made one for me out of fruit crates, fabric curtains she sewed and painted wood for the top.  She hung a mirror on the wall above it.  I did not feel cheated because she did not buy me a new one.  In fact I loved it and loved her for making it for me.  My mother taught me to buy things second hand and fix them up.  I learned to look at things not only for what they were but for what I could make them become.  It has given me much joy in my life.  I am proud to say that I furnish my home Early American Garage Sale.  I love the hunt for that perfect piece.  I love the process of making something work for me.  I love that I can save money this way. 
  6. The value of  work.  (I know I said 5 things, but I wanted to add one more) We never had much money, but I never really felt like we were poor.  I always felt like we had what we needed.  My mother taught me to appreciate having a job and how to stretch a dollar.   I had a paper route when I was 9.  Then when I was 12 I bused tables at the restaurants she worked at.  The waitresses would pay me with tips, food and drinks.  Mom taught me how to get a job, she showed me how to fill out an application and explained an interview to me.  I went to my first interview when I was 15 and got a job at a local theater.  I got it because I had worked in a Mexican restaurant with my mom before and learned to speak a slang street Spanish to the locals.  It was a most coveted position.  It was great because I could see all the movies, free popcorn, pop and all the kids in school came there.  I loved it!  I learned to save to buy what I wanted with my own money. I learned that if I wanted something I needed to work for it. 

I miss my mom.  She was my best friend.  I loved her.  I grieved the loss of her a couple of years before she ever died.  The death of her mother in 1989 changed her and that year I not only lost my grandmother, but I also lost my mother.  I am so grateful for the influence she had on me.  I am grateful for this opportunity to think about her in a positive way.  Love you mom.

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