Friday, December 30, 2011

What MOM Taught Me and How.

My mom is the wordless book I have been reading for almost 56 years. I've decided to share a few choice chapters:
Open windows at night for fresh air. As a kid in the cold Buffalo winters, Mom would enter my room every morning and close my window. Sometimes she would be wearing her red long johns. She called herself the Red Baron as she flew in and out of our rooms, announcing the plan for the day... time to turn off my electric blanket and get up! Mom knew that fresh cold air at night was good to breathe, humor was a good start to a cold morning, and early was the time to get busy!
Never throw away what you could use, and give away what you can't. Mom is clean and organized; so am I. But she doesn't like to throw stuff away, so she re-purposes things -- a lesson I relearned last summer. Jim and I were helping remove items from Mom's cabin to get it ready for its next owners. She really wanted to leave everything there, knowing how useful each item would be.  It was my job, however, to be real. So I began to sort out stuff to leave, stuff to take, and yes, stuff to toss. Later, when I was chiding her for not discarding expired food, Mom informed me that the reason there are spice containers from the 1950's was because she would refill them. OOPS!
Cook and clean the easy way. Some folks think organized people are always cleaning.  This is not true! organized is the easy (Mom says lazy) way to keep the house clean. I had to inform her, though, that the attachments on her vacuum would do a good job cleaning around baseboards. She was still moving her bed and sweeping these areas with a brush and dustpan well into her 80's.
Don't gossip or talk someone down -- even if they break your heart. Mom NEVER gossips. I admire this so much!  I think this is the ultimate example of respect and she NEVER had to tell me was demonstrated.
Women can do anything - but teaching and caring for children is as important as any job could ever be. 
I captured a video of Mom chatting with my 3-yr-old granddaughter as she eased her into a Christmas Eve nap. After they sang the 12 days of Christmas. She explained to Isabel why she needed a nap... so she could keep her "sunny side up." Mom is smart. She wins every game she plays. She could have done anything!  If she could live to be 900, like Noah, she would have time to accomplish great tasks. With her shorter span, she has chosen to teach, my siblings, my children, my grandchildren, women in her Bible study, and 2nd graders at her church.
Be active. Mom is always on the move. She walks over a mile each morning. And she is on the move the rest of the day too. Frankly, she wears me out just to think about all she does!
Be hospitable. I was the "dishwasher" for many a dinner party. Mom entertains. People love her parties. She opens her home to people and treats them like kings and queens.
Make up stories.  Mom would take me shopping at the A&P, back when I was honored to be trusted to pick out bananas (at about 4 years old). I remember her making up stories about the people in the parking lot, stories like where they were headed, what they liked to do. This was fascinating. It taught me to look for the story behind the face.
Read Daily A chapter a day gets a book read faster than a few chapters once in a while.
Create beauty Everything Mom does is beautiful in some way. Mom taught me to live an artful, joyful life. You know, we can all do this!
Que Sera, Sera (What will be, will be.) When my dad decided to leave his wife of 20 years and his four children back in the 1960s, Mom was one of a very few divorced women. After thinking carefully how to tell me, her youngest, about this change in my life, she sat beside me on the piano bench as we played and sang this song: Que Sera, Sera. That's it. Life goes on.You can't control it. I think of this song and this memory often!
Here are a few more of her lessons. I'll let you imagine how I learned them:
Have a few pets.
Just try it.
Be courageous.
Talk to perfect strangers.
Don't trouble yourself with much makeup or jewelry; be witty, instead.
Fold fitted sheets.
Put leftovers into a smaller dish until gone.
Nupes will fix it! ( I have altered this to say Coconut Oil will fix it!)
Be willing to learn new things.
When you've learned it, teach it.
Maintenance is the key to beauty.
Laugh when you "accidentally" break the bottle of ketchup in the snow on your way home from the neighbor's house where you borrowed it for dinner.
Inspire others.
The fork goes on the left.
No rough-house in the living room!
Keep an eye on your money -- and your cookies!
Mind over matter.
Knock it off!
Pick it up.
Improve your property.
You are more important than things.
"Fire Engine Red" is not a put down if you don't take it that way when kids mock your socks.
Move on. 

THANK YOU  MOM.  You are my inspiration!  

May this little post bless and inspire many!

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  1. Love this. She also took the time to write me, telling me how much she enjoyed putting Isabel for her nap and how it took her back. And told me that she knows life is crazy busy and hectic but all that will fade away when I am older and I'll remember this time as my favorite. So I am taking that to heart as I head into 2011 and am going to slow down.
    Mom, the thing that you always told me that I have to remember almost daily is: "Things always seem worse at night then they really are." Love you both. Here's to the New Year!!

  2. This was beautiful. I'm glad I have had a chance to see and hear some of these things over the years. But what I really love is that because of all of these things, and the mother you had.....we have you. I love you :) Happy New Year!

  3. A comment sent to me and Mom by my niece:

    Aunt Becky and Grandma,

    Thank you so much for writing this beautiful tribute to Grandma. We are all lucky to have learned so much from you, Grandma, and what a gift to write it down, and let us all reflect on those who have taught us so much.

    What I learned from Grandma:

    Be creative: Old holiday cards make great placemats. Small squares of knitting practice make great potholders!
    Eat your heavy meal in the middle of the day
    Singing brings joy!
    Play games with those you love.
    Grow your own food.
    In a pinch (leaving the creek in the summer with your cousins) a handkerchief makes a great shirt.
    Parents deserve a few weeks away from their kids, and grandparents deserve a few weeks with their grandkids.
    Everyone loves leftovers

    We love you Grandma!


  4. Hi Becky! I wanted to come by and say thanks for joining us at Dandelion House and let you know that I gave you a little shout out and a welcome on my Farmgirl Friday hop post today!
    Hope to see you often for our weekly blog hops!

  5. Wow Becky. I love the way you put things in words. This is an amazing tribute. What a gift your mom has given you in the way she chose to live above her troubles! Thanks for composing this. Inspiring!

  6. Thanks, all for taking the time out of your day to read. I am so blessed by your comments!


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