Lessons from my Mom

I’m writing this piece on August 25th. Today would have been my mother’s birthday. Our precious mother died from complications following surgery in 1991 at the age of 65. While it has been 22 years since we lost her, not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. She epitomized beauty of appearance and personality. She was loving, gentle, and caring. She and my father loved each other more than any two people I have ever known. They were devoted to one another “until death do us part.”

We had a simple life while growing up, as my parents had very little during their early years. They had married during WWII during a “leave” that my dad had from the Marine Corps. When the war was over, they moved to Manhattan, KS, where my dad completed a degree in architecture. While Dad began his career, we lived a very modest lifestyle—and a terrific one. We spent time together; played together; ate simple, inexpensive meals that still resonate with perfection to my two brothers and me. Mother made macaroni and cheese seem like a gourmet delight. Filet Mignon was a hamburger patty wrapped in bacon and broiled. (I didn’t know the difference until I went to college.)

Mother taught us so much. We learned to respect others. We spoke kindly. “Cuss” words were not allowed in our home. We did chores in our home and were given responsibilities that we were expected to fulfill. We sat down to meals together and helped clean up—always. We took care of our rooms and messiness was not allowed. Sunday school and church were a part of our lives. When we were in any kind of event – from sporting events to my piano lessons and recitals to horseshows (which scared Mother to death as she was always afraid I would get hurt) – she and my dad were there.

We were loved. We were loved when we were good and things were excellent. We were loved when we made mistakes and things weren’t so great. In times of sickness and injury, Mother was there. We knew we could count on her and that we were her priority. We were loved and we mattered. And we knew it.

We were taught values from both the perspective of teaching and role modeling. Lessons were shared with us through words, but the greatest lessons came from unfaltering example. We knew what was right and what was wrong—and that was a part of our home. The values that are a part of our fiber came from parents who raised us to become constructive, contributing members of America and the world.

Ultimately, we pass these values on to our own children—and they will do the same for their children.

When children can shoot an innocent victim because they are “bored,” I have to wonder what type of parenting these juveniles had—or didn’t have. And, once again, I am grateful for my mother and father.

Be an example for your own children. If you bring a child into the world, accept the responsibilities associated with parent them. Lead by example. Teach truths of life based on values.

Hopefully, one day your own child will write about you with the same “forever” love and gratitude that I am writing with today as I reflect on my mother’s birthday. Mother, I am so grateful that you were born—and that I am privileged to call you “Mom.” I love you.

Mother’s Rose Bush