One year ago today, I took two flights home to find that I was just 45 minutes shy of saying goodbye to my mother as she left this earth. A wise friend once told me not to count the weeks and months that go by; it wouldn’t be a fair way to let myself heal if I kept reminding myself that way. So I let it be. Instead I thought about her life; the things I knew about her and the things I saw in old photos that I gathered about her. I listened to the stories her friends and my aunts told. I learned that she was ambitious, determined, a hard-worker, caring, considerate, thoughtful and so many more. How did this impact me? It made me think about what I’m doing with my life-how I’m living it. Here are 7 lessons from my mother that have given me so much life.
1.Value time with your loved ones – Husbands, wives, children, friends; if they’re in your life, take care of the relationship, nurture it, grow it, treasure it. One of the best memories I have of my mom is when she read to me at night and when she would let me bake with her. I do this now with my children. We all love it!
2. Let go of people who don’t have time for you. -WE.ARE.ALL.BUSY. I get it. Sometimes it’s easier to scroll through social media than pick up a phone. This year I uninstalled Facebook from my phone and found that I have a little more time to do things like actually calling my friends and family on the phone and even writing a letter or two. Some have called back, some pick up and some I’m still waiting to hear from.
3. Have a party!- not a pity party though. Dinner party with friends for whatever occasion? Do that! Game night party? Sure, do it! Hubby and I love to entertain. It brings great conversation and change from the mundane day to day.
4. Go on a date – something I experienced as a child was staying with my grandmother or aunt sometimes so that my parents could go out or go on a trip. As a child, I didn’t always like it but my parents later explained that this is good for the marriage and the child. Children need to experience a little separation so that they aren’t so attached. This is also gives them a chance to see that marriage is an important relationship that has to be nurtured too. And of course, I don’t think I need to tell you the miraculous benefits it has on the parents!
5. Save and minimize-It’s no secret that my mother was very frugal and valued the bargains in life. She once called to tell me that she got a turtleneck from JC Penny’s for 1 cent. My hubby and I would joke about this from time to time. Her frugalness was sometimes annoying, but when she passed I saw that she had saved money for family. On the flip side, all those bargain purchases added a lot to her closet-including the unused gifts from friends, acquaintances and me. Gift receiving was definitely not her Love Language. With two closets full of stuff, I overwhelmingly tried my best to clear her closet, but to no avail. Why did she have so much stuff? When did she even wear these things? We have a small closet in our home (when we first moved in, this really annoyed me) and I have really had to downsize-within good reason. Honestly, after ma passed, I got into a “retail therapy” kind of mood. Buying things and later having remorse. Most of what I bought last year, I have already given away. I’ve learned to ask myself, “Do I really need this?”
6. Let it go. Stress can kill. We all know that. We’ve heard it. My question would always be “how?” How can I beat stress? What should I do? Well, for me I find what I enjoy doing and I do it.
– Sitting and reading a good novel
– Watching a show that’s not for my kids
– Intimacy with my husband
– Talking and hanging out with my friends
– Going to an awesome workout
– Pretending that my stressors are in a balloon and using my imagination to pop every single one. The thought of the last one makes me giggle inside.
7. Do what you love. You will spend the majority of your life at your job. Sometimes your job is just that–you don’t love it, sometimes you may not even like it. There are very few people that absolutely love what they do. Maybe you are a bagger at a grocery store and you hate it, but it’s what pays the bills. There is nothing stopping you from still playing in that rock band on your off days. Or in my case, I teach but I really enjoy dancing, crafting, baking and writing. So what do I do when I’m off? All of these things.
In conclusion, I don’t have to tell you that Life is short. My mother lived from 1955-2017. You see that dash in the middle? We all have one that indicates the years in between. What are you doing with your dash?