3 Important Lessons Learned From my Mother


Cardinal“Our mothers give us so many gifts. They give us the precious gift of life, of course, but they also leave treasured lessons that can guide us along our journeys even when they are no longer with us.”

                                                ~Maria Shriver


My mother passed away in 2009 at the age of 78, but there are many blessings and lessons she brought to my life, and there are many constant reminders of her. Whenever I see a cardinal, I think of her. She passionately loved these brilliant red birds and had a collection of little statues of them. She also loved robins, and would say that she knew when it was spring when she started to see robins.

She had many motherly sayings, as many mothers do, like “Always wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident.” One of my favorites was, “What doesn’t break you will make you stronger, Valerie.”

Of the many important lessons she taught me, here are 3 of the most important.

If you can read, you can cook.

I’m in my fifties now and it amazes me when I meet women my age who don’t cook, saying that they can’t. Some of them live exclusively on take-out or frozen foods, which horrifies me.

My mother taught me that as long as you read, you can cook. All you have to do is follow the directions. She tried a new recipe just about weekly.

Some of my fondest memories of childhood involve coming home to my mom cooking homemade spaghetti sauce or a New England boiled dinner, or the scent of snickerdoodles baking at Christmas time.

Because of my mom, I seek out new recipes and follow the directions. I’m not always successful and wouldn’t say I’m a great cook, but I’m not afraid to give it my best shot. Thanks, Mom.

Learning and reading make life worthwhile

What is your earliest memory as a small child? One of my earliest memories is sitting curled up next to my mother while she read me a book, which was something she did frequently.

Reading and learning was such a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother read voraciously, and was almost always familiar with what was on the bestseller list. She devoured information and facts and was so good at Jeopardy that we used to encourage her to go on the show, which she never did, but I know she would have done well.

I think my love of reading and ultimately writing came about because of her. Without her influence, my life may have gone in an entirely different direction and would have been nowhere near as rich and fulfilling.

Love others

My mother was a living example of loving other people. She cherished people and made friends almost everywhere she went. She had long-term friends that were her hairdressers, waitresses and neighbors. A large number of her friends were friends for life.

She set an amazing example of love and tolerance for others. She taught me not to be judgmental or discriminatory.

She was extremely devoted to my dad and set such a power of example of what it takes to make a marriage work. Sometimes love doesn’t come easily and requires effort. This is true not only in marriage, but in raising children and in friendship. My mom taught me that.

There were many more lessons besides those mentioned. I do know that one of the greatest blessings of my life was having a loving mother throughout my life. As an unknown author said, “A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go.”

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