My Mother Raised a Mother

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It has been about a month since my mother passed away of cancer and I know she will always be in my thoughts. I have been thinking a lot about my childhood and now as an adult with my own child I finally get it. Every lesson, every kiss and hug, and every craft project had a purpose; a goal and that was to hopefully make me the best mother I could be in the future. For much of my life my mom was a single parent working hard and raising us to the best of her ability and though we did not have a lot of money we never really felt the effects of being on the lower middle class end. I cannot remember a Christmas gift I wanted that I did not get, a birthday party that didn’t amaze everyone invited, or a Halloween where my mom didn’t make me the best costume in school. Being a parent now I can’t understand how she did it so seamlessly but I believe her basic core principles were strong and unrelenting.

Your kids always come first

Sure having the newest and best things around are great but how does that benefit your little ones? My mom never purchased things for herself. There were many days where my mom didn’t get any sleep because she worked nights so she could be home during the day with us. I don’t think I ever heard her say “I need” only “My children need”. I knew even back then whatever I wanted to do or be my mother would fully support me.

Love is all children need

We were always told that we were loved. New inventive ways to have fun were always thought of to keep us busy and happy such as decorating cookies, having picnics, and making a paper turkey out of our handprints. Hugs and kisses were never in short supply in our home. Kids will not remember how much you spent on them but the times you shared as a family. Some of the poorest families I know in terms of money are the happiest in terms of love.

Make the holidays memorable

Holidays were always so memorable in our home. We always awoke on Christmas to the smell of my mom’s cookies and eternally looping Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers songs. Somehow during the night a stuffed animal was tucked under are arms so we would awaken to a new friend. On Easter there was always a note from the bunny next to our Easter baskets. Halloween always meant that our mom made costumes for us that people complimented us on all day long. Whatever holiday you celebrate the little things are what make them special.

Raise your kids to be good people

Please and thank you were some of the first words we learned as infants. Explaining how families come in all different forms was an important lesson when we questioned why our parents did not live together. My discussions with my mother were truly open and honest, others could not believe how I would tell my mom everything and anything. Helping others through scouting was a priority. Bringing us to nursing homes to sing carols and being kind to others were lessens well taught to us. I remember saying once “why do we have to go and help old people” and my mother’s reply was “It is the right thing to do”. Our house was always the go to house for the kids in the neighborhood, my mom loved that. The only thing she asked of our friends in return was to just call her “mom”.

I now know my mother had a special purpose on this earth and that was to simply be a mother. We as mothers will never be perfect but our love for our children can be perfect. When I plan activities for my son sometimes I think back to my mother and projects she created for us. I suppose the best tribute to my mother is to follow her core principals and in a perfect world to be known to everyone as “mom”.

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