My mom taught me many things while growing up. At her knee I learned to sew. It’s not a skill people pay me for like they do her, but it has served me well. I’ve been able to make curtains and drapes, recover furniture and make Halloween costumes. I still haven’t mastered her hand-sewing talent of smocking, but I’m sure if I wanted to, she would teach me.
She taught me how to bake and even let me eat raw cookie dough and lick cake batter straight from the beaters. When I wanted to learn to decorate cakes, she stood by my side and encouraged me as I mastered new techniques.
I don’t remember her ever telling me that something was too hard or too messy or too much trouble for me to learn. Whatever I wanted—within reason—she made available to me. And it wasn’t the material things that come easier for me with my kids. She wasn’t able to buy me everything I wanted, but she provided everything I needed. And that was plenty.
Several pearls of wisdom she also imparted:
Don’t open someone else’s mail.
Just because someone asks you a question, doesn’t mean you have to answer it.
It’s not good to be boy-crazy.
Even though you can’t see the back of your hair, other people can.
It’s much better to give than to receive.
Knock before opening a closed door.
A good deed feels even better if you keep it to yourself.
Something broken can almost always be fixed.
If you can find a way to make it or do it yourself and spend less money, then do.
Never put in writing what you don’t want everyone to read.
You’re always prettier when you smile.
Never correct an adult in front of other people.
Less is better—in terms of makeup, accessories, etc.
It’s better to miss curfew than to drive recklessly to get home.
You’ll never know how much you are loved until you have kids of your own.
And now that I am a mother of three, I know what she means. The other day my daughter, who is nearly six, asked me what Grandma’s name is. I told her it is Marianne.
“Marianne?” she asked. “That’s such a pretty name! I think I’ll name my daughter that.”
I hope one day she does.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!