Thursday, May 8, 2014

Things I Learned From My Mom

This post first appeared on my MySpace page back in June of 2007 under the title "Things Mom Taught Me".  It was one of two posts I wrote to honor my mom on the third anniversary of her death. 
Some of these pearls were passed along as advice. Most are just the kernels I gleaned from the 30 years I had with her.  That sounds like such a long time, but it was far too short.  
As Mother's Day is Sunday, and my mother's birthday is the following week, I thought it would be fitting to repost. I considered trying to organize it more concisely, or add new commentary. But I think, for now, I will leave it as written.  

From growing up in a military life where cocktail parties and wives' clubs never went out of fashion, along with a mix of common sense and southern hospitality, my mom passed along this wisdom, which I present in no way in full, and entirely at random...
  • Family and friendship come before all else. She'd say "you may not always like them, but you don't stop loving people just because they are sometimes jerks."
  • Always expect the very best, and be prepared for the very worst. This was true for everything, including people. This has always served me well.
  • It was fine not to like something, but only if I'd actually tried it first.
  • The importance of family history.
  • The importance & fine art of good conversation.
  • Not to be with someone just because everyone else liked them.
  • Everyone deserves a second and even third chance. That doesn't mean they get a free pass, however. She might forgive, but she never really forgot. However, there was always another chance to earn back her trust and respect if you wanted to.
  • The beauty of thunderstorms.
  • That a power nap (also known as a sinking spell) really can be just the thing to get you going again.
  • There is nothing wrong with being cute, just back it up with the ability to be serious.
  • To shop for bargains, but also to know what things are worth paying full price for.
  • Always have "mad money" tucked away.
  • Anytime is a good time to go to a beach.
  • If you want to sing, then go right ahead and sing (maybe she got this from Sesame Street).
  • The best quality a friend or lover can have is the ability to make you laugh.
  • It is important to know your own body & it's always ok to question your doctor - the doctor's not in your skin, after all.
  • There is nothing finer than popping off your shoes and sticking your feet on the dash.
  • Any time you can take off your shoes, you should.
  • To always go upstairs on my toes, because it would make my calves strong (it did).
  • My mother never did yoga, or pilates, or anything like that. But there were exercises she'd learned as a girl, and she passed these along to me. Mostly, it boiled down to the value of stretching out the limbs, and the back. Because being limber is as important as being strong. (Maybe more so, really)
  • How to shop for clothes without trying them on - and have them fit when I get them home.
  • Buying clothing basics that flatter your figure & never goes out of style will always give you the best value. Then you can add pieces or accessories that make a look more "trendy" and "in fashion". This way you have a more "timeless" style.
  • Birthdays are important. Everyone's birthday is their day; on that day they get to do what they want, watch what they want, eat what they want & be celebrated.
  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with being silly, no matter how old you are. How else does one stay young at heart?
  • There are certain things everyone should know, even if they don't honestly care. The important thing being that other people would care and would be talking about it. A well-rounded individual should at least know the outcome - and thus not be lost in the conversation. These things included:
    • Who won each of the Triple Crown horse races
    • Who won the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA playoffs, etc.
    • Who won pop-culture events (like American Idol)
  • Learning to wash your own clothes, basic sewing, change a tire, cook a good steak, make yourself eggs the way you like them (particularly when you are sick) - such things are essential to growing up.
  • You can be the most beautiful or the smartest or the most accomplished - but if you are ugly to people, it won't matter. Pretty is as pretty does.
  • If you never start wearing foundation makeup, you may never need it. Seriously, I wasn't allowed to wear more than powder, eyeliner & blush as a young teenager, and 20 years later, I rarely wear more than that now.
  • On Christmas morning everyone should take turns opening gifts, because it really should be more fun to give than it is to receive.
  • Basic Yiddish phrases. Although I haven't figured out why she ever knew them to begin with.
  • The value of a B-horror movie, whether it's new or old, in English or over-dubbed.
  • That "pet people" belong with other "pet people".
  • Any occasion can be a "special" occasion and you should use the good china, the good linen, and the good silver for it. Otherwise, why have that stuff taking up space?
  • Blood may be thicker than water, but it is love that defines a family.


  1. Your Mama and my Mama thought a lot alike!

    1. Knowing you even just a little, I don't doubt that at all! You are one of my favorite #SteelMagnolias!

  2. This is beautiful, Serendipity, and they're basic truths to live by. You honor your mother's memory with this post, and I'm thankful you shared it on the #SHINEBlogHop with us.

  3. Wow! Your mom was a smart cookie! These are deep, practical and essential!

  4. I love this. So much. Your mom was so wise. Hugs, my friend.

  5. I loved this post. My mom is still teaching me and I hope I can remember all the things she has given to me over time. This was so amazing!!

  6. Amazing wisdom and advice. A beautiful testament to your mom!

  7. THIS post is timeless! I always enjoy reading or hearing about lessons learned. Your mom was a wise woman who knew how to enjoy life.

    Thanks for sharing with BlogDiggity!