Now that I’m a Mom, I know that my Mom- and all our Moms, have regrets or wished they would have done things differently. Maybe there are a few out there that feel like the did perfectly well- but for the most part, us Moms are always looking at how we could have done better. It’s in our blood. So for this Mother’s Day, I wanted to make a list for my Mom of all the things she taught me- all the things she did beautifully. I wouldn’t be the person I am without the person she is, and I’m so very very thankful for her- and that I got her as my Mom. So, without further ado, here’s a list of things my Mom taught me without her even realizing it!
1. Find your passion and cling to it in a fierce and mighty way
I’ll never forget sitting outside the tent, covered in tall tree’s deep in the forests of Oregon. I had on my red flannel bear jammies, some serious bed head, and a lot of tears. I didn’t want her to go. I watched her as she hesitantly put on one cycling shoe, then the other. As her shoes clicked the ground, she walked to her bike, threw one leg over and looked at me. She didn’t look sure. She looked nervous. She clicked her foot into one pedal, and I cried more. Then in a flash, she raced off for the first of what would be decades of joy and healing for my Mom.
It was her first Oregon Bike Ride- where she and her friends would ride their bikes for a week around the beautiful state of Oregon. It was intense, hard, and beautiful. Every night she would camp under the stars and listen to the howl of the foxes and then wake up and ride her bike all day long. Think camp, for crazy athletic adults. It’s been almost thirty years since that first OBR, and shockingly I made it that week without my Mom just fine. And because she didn’t let a few tears and a bratty preschooler stop her from something she loved- she’s spent the past three decades doing this ride- it’ part of her very being and she’s never missed a year. It brings her joy. It heals her. It’s hers. This year- for the first time in twenty years she’ll be going without her husband, my bonus Dad. He’s had some health stuff, and although she’s heartbroken he can’t come, she’s still going. She doesn’t give up, this Mom of mine. And I love her for it.
I’m no longer wearing those jammies, I’m not crying anymore, and I have my family and my passions. I get it even more now. I get how important those passions are. How healing they can be. How joyous. So I will cling to mine too Momma.
2. Tomorrow is a new day
We have a saying around our house- tomorrow is a new day. If it’s been a rough one with lots of timeouts, sicknesses, or stained carpet, so you call CleanerUp stat- we always remind each other that tomorrow is a new day full of fresh starts. I learned this one from my Mom. We had lots of Mommy daughter wars and fights in my teen years, and as we reconciled and ended she would always hug me and tell me tomorrow is a new day- and she meant it. Every new day I would walk upstairs for my cereal, and she would be happy and ready for the day- never holding against me whatever I had said the day before. I try my hardest to give that same gift to my children.
3. You are what you eat
Anyone that knows my Mom knows she’s pretty much a walking encyclopedia on health and wellness. We grew up thinking spinach and cheese were desert, had no clue what soda was, and candy was the stuff of Satan. We didn’t eat “organic” how you all know it to be now but very much ate “organic” because we lived in a place that just did things that way. No hormone fed meat. A lot of veggies. A lot of fruit. After basketball games, when it was my Moms turn to bring the snacks- I dreaded it because without fail it would be sliced oranges and water. All the other Moms did Capri Suns and fruit snacks or muffins. Not my Mom. I’ll never forget when it was her week, she would cut those oranges saying over and over again, “athletes need nutrients, not sugar.” It was like a mantra. Everytime. EVVVVVERYYYYTIME. Ok Mom, got it.
Now- though we are a little more relaxed and allow treats from time to time- my kids love their fruit and veggies. When my son see’s shrimp out, he asks if it’s farm raised or fresh. My favorite foods to this day are veggies on a salad. I love pure, good, food. Not fake food, not candy, but real food. My children act like kids in a candy shop at the produce section at any store. That’s all because of their Grandma and the things she taught us. Thank you, Mom!
4. There’s nothing a day outside can’t fix
Fresh air. FRESH AIR. Your feet on the soil. Smelling the roses. Or the rain. A day at the beach. A run around the river. Feeding the ducks at the park. Hiking through the thick forests, up above the top of the tree’s, and looking all around- taking it in. Breath.it.in. I can still hear her- “Get outside.” If you were happy- going outside would make you happier. If you were sad, going outside would heal it and make you better. If you were sick- fresh air would make you better. I’m surprised we didn’t live outside. Seriously.
On September 11th, 2001 my Mom and I sat glued to the TV- like the rest of the world. We watched in horror as the buildings fell over and over again. I couldn’t stop watching. Suddenly, the TV shut off and in good old Mom fashion she threw her hands up and said, “lets get outside. Lets go for a walk.” We put our shoes on, and we walked along the McKenzie River for a long time. We talked. We soaked up the sun. We listened to the water hit the rocks. I will never forget that walk, and how needed it was. I can still smell the air and I can still feel how walking outside with my Mom made me feel safe in a world that was less safe then it was the day before. Unknown to me, it was the last time we walked that path, one we walked many times before, in a world without constant war. I treasure that memory. I treasure that on one of the most life-changing days for our world- I have a memory of my Mom and I was just walking along the river.
In the long winters of Fargo, I find myself craving a handful of soil. Not to eat, don’t worry- but just to feel it in my hands. Sometimes I want to roll in it. I know, that’s weird. But I grew up OUTSIDE. I grew up in the dirt. I grew up smelling the rain covered roses and rhododendrons. We camped in the forest- not camp sites, but THE FOREST. As in, we hiked and found a good spot to call home. Usually, by a tiny little lake, we were sure nobody knew about. Yeah, that. Man, I’m thankful for that.
5. Speak your Mind
So this one gets me into a lot of trouble. And sometimes, I’m sure it backfires on her…but my Mom always told me to tell people how I feel. I was raised to be strong and opinionated, and well, I am. To this day- I don’t shy away from sharing my thoughts, and it’s one of my favorite things she instilled in me. Not only did she instill this in me- but she respects it too. Even when I speak my mind against something she says or believes, she doesn’t take offense, and she still loves me. Of course, she tells me what she thinks too- but because of this honesty and openness, there are no secrets in our family. We are open, we challenge each other, we bicker, and then we come to understand each other more and love each other more. I wish more families were like this! This is all from my Mom and her firecracker spirit. She doesn’t step down. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t let people walk all over her. She’s a force to be reckoned with, and I love that.
6. Last but certainly not least, MOM ALWAYS GETS WHAT SHE WANTS.
Because it’s true. We have an ongoing joke in our family- if Mom wishes for something that we don’t want, we all just accept that it will happen because MOM ALWAYS GETS WHAT SHE WANTS. ALWAYS. ALWAYYYYYYYYS. It’s near freaky. I mean really. Mountains will move. Weather will listen. It’s best to be on her right side.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list- these are my most treasured lessons from her and how she lives her life. I’m honored to be able to call her Mom.
Mom- thank you for being you. Thank you for being the exact Mom you are and were. I’ve grown to love who I am, and I am that person because of you. I love you so very much and am so very glad you’re my Mom!