It’s impossible to put everything I’ve learned from my mom into writing. She’s been the most influential person in my life hands-down and is largely responsible for the woman and mother I am today, and I’m so thankful for that. As I was thinking about Mother’s Day, I reflected on all the lessons and values she’s given me, and I came up with some favorites.
- Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.
- Out with the old and in with the new. When I was little, my huge Mexican family would get together a few times a year at my abuelita and abuelito’s house to have a big yard sale, and from the time I was a toddler my mom had me participate. I would gather up toys and clothes I didn’t use anymore and I got to keep any money that came from selling them. I remember feeling reluctant to let go of my belongings, but then feeling so satisfied when I saw how much money I’d earned and all the cool new things I’d made room for. To this day, I love getting rid of old stuff that’s cluttering up my space and there are very few possessions I cling to. I think it’s safe to say that thanks to my mom I’ll never be on an episode of Hoarders.
- Destiny is a matter of choice, not a matter of chance. You’re in charge of your own life and happiness, no one else.
- Home is where you make it. By the time I left for college, I had lived in six different houses. No, my parents weren’t in the military, nor did I have a rocky childhood. We just happened to move a lot. I’ve always been amazed by my mother’s ability to make any house of any size feel like home. It taught me that home has nothing to do with possessions, a location on a map, square footage, or how long you’ve lived there — it has to do with family and the love that fills a space.
- Always have an emergency fund, even if you think you’ll never need it.
- A book is the best teacher, friend, and form of entertainment. You might have heard the saying, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” Well, it’s true, and my mom made me the avid reader, writer, and book-lover I am today. The love of reading she fostered in me has defined my life. It’s the reason I chose to major in English, why I became a writer, why I’m always reading, and why I read to my son every day. I consider reading and writing to be my greatest passions and my greatest gifts, and she gave them to me.
- It’s never too late to start or learn something new. The year she turned 50, my mom decided she wanted to run a marathon, so she got her hands on some running books, put on her tennis shoes, and slowly but surely became a runner. That year she ran the New York Marathon, and she has run several marathons since. We’re not spending Mother’s Day together because, as I write this, she’s in the Grand Canyon running a half marathon. Last week she signed up to go salsa dancing. She’s always learning, growing, and improving, and that’s a trait I’ve always admired and tried to emulate.
- Never put anything you don’t want someone else to know in writing.
- It’s ok to take a ditch day every once in a while. When I was in grade school, I was allowed to take one “ditch day” every semester. I didn’t have to be sick or have a good reason, I just got to cash in my ditch day whenever I wanted (assuming I wasn’t trying to get out of major test or something). While some people might frown on a mother letting her daughter ditch school, I think it taught me a great lesson — that’s it’s ok to take a break and put your self-care first. It’s healthy and sometimes necessary to pause, forget your responsibilities for a day, and come back refreshed, as long as you only do it every so often.
- Mother knows best. And by that I mean she always has your best interest at heart. Even if I disagree with her opinions sometimes, I can trust that my mom is always thinking about my safety, happiness, and well-being.
I’m truly blessed to have such an incredible relationship with my mom. The closeness we had when I was a child evolved into an unparalleled friendship, and I’m so thankful for that. I love you, Mom.
And I hope you all have a Happy Mother’s Day!