Because of all the excitement in the last year with Ladybug being born, my brother coming home and general holiday festivities, many family pictures have been taken lately. One of my favorite comments to receive when I share those pictures are the inevitable “You are just like your mother!” I smile because they don’t even know the half of it. I look like my mother but I can only hope that I can measure up to her someday.
See, my mom is the coolest person I know.
She graduated college on the Dean’s list while raising 4 children. She’s always made it to all of our activities – volunteering as field trip chaperone, being copy mom up at the school, sitting through sport team practices, and somehow also juggles a job to fund our lifestyle. She spends her entire day making sure our family runs smoothly. Somehow, she still finds spare time to pursue her hobbies and passions which has been fun to watch whether it’s traveling, crossfit, or finding the next bestselling book to share with us. It’s easy to see how happy my mom is and it amazes me how proficient she is at balancing her life.
My mom’s poured so much into me that I guess it only makes sense that I would start reflecting the years of love, investment, and sacrifice. The truth is that I have inherited so much more than just my looks from my mom. I’m still learning how to live up to that potential but there are a couple gifts in particular that stand out to me.
Mama gave me an idea of what kindness in action looks like.
She showed me how to have compassion for those around me by the way she responded whenever there were problems or underlying issues going on. I guess that is the reason why so many of our friends growing up loved talking to my mom and coming over to our house. She made the space around her a sanctuary from stress and chaos. And this is a value that has been instilled in me that I want to pass on to my daughter. It turns out that kindness looks a lot like loving someone without trying to fix or change them.
My mom taught me that strength comes from perseverance.
I’ve watched her face impossible situations and overcome difficult trials while never once falling apart. With every new, daunting task at hand, she rolls up her sleeves and commits to finishing what she has started. Natural talent and luck can only get you far in life if you aren’t willing to work. She’s taught me to relentlessly pursue the things I want in life because true strength is chasing after your dreams – even when setbacks occur and times get tough. The payoff is always worth the struggle.
Lastly, my mother showed me what truly defines happiness.
It was so important and so necessary for my mom to teach me that no one could make me happy and it wouldn’t come from any external factor in my life. If I wanted to be happy, I would have to make that personal decision. The most successful marriages and friendships come from two people finding happiness with each other, not in each other. And my parents have been a perfect model of that. My mom has shown me time and time again, we choose happiness.
The truth is that I am incredibly lucky to have my mom. To have a woman that gives me the best of what she has and the best of what the world has to offer. To a woman that gives me the freedom to be who I am while reminding me of my roots. To a woman that is a thunderstorm – fierce but beautiful with the promise of a rainbow.
I love you, mom!