Today is my mom’s birthday.
Although it would be impossible to make a list of everything she has taught me through the years, I did jot a few down. Here goes:
My mom taught me to love God and to try to and act like Jesus.
My mom taught me to love others – especially the “least of these”.
My mom taught me to love people …. even when they don’t love you back.
My mom taught me to always look for people who look like they need a friend and make them feel welcome.
My mom taught me to love God’s word. She reads it …. a lot.
My mom taught me to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. If we were in a department store and an article of clothing had fallen on the floor … she would pick it up and hang it back on the rack and say we were helping the employees there …. doing unto others. She recycles … and always makes sure her cans don’t have any rough edges because she didn’t want the workers to cut their hands – doing unto others. Not too long ago she cut her finger and required an emergency room visit after she stuck her finger on the edge of the sweetened condensed milk can. Oh, the irony.
She taught me to laugh.
She taught me to laugh at myself. Once we were in a store and she ran into the mirror …. seeing her reflection she said … “oh, excuse me” … and then we laughed so hard people looked at us. As she looked at her reflection, she realized that she had on two different earrings. That sent us into more fits of laughter. We laughed A LOT.
She taught me to laugh with others (but never at them).
She taught me that laughing beats crying but that sometimes you just need a good cry.
She taught me how to have fun.
She taught me that you don’t have to do everything yourself … she said “buy potato salad at the store, put it in your own dish and sprinkle a little paprika on the top …. nobody will know”.
Not too long ago she took cookies to a cookie swap. She bought them, put them on a pretty plate …. and they were the hit of the party. Everyone wanted the recipe and she gladly gave it to them. It started and ended with “drive your car to Fresh Market”.
In third grade we had to have a “flapper” costume when we were studying the roaring 20’s. I asked her repeatedly why all the other moms MADE their costume and she paid someone to make mine. Looking back that is hilarious that I, of all people, would ask that question!!
My mom taught me to care about missions and missionaries.
My mom taught me that people don’t really need to know the nice things you do for others … just do them. She has been quietly generous to people who will never, ever know what she (and my dad) have done.
She taught me right from wrong and not to get them confused.
She taught me to stand up for what is right. I will never, ever forget her running for the school board when I was in the 4th grade. A group wanted her to join their membership to receive their endorsement. She told them that she would still have to vote how she felt led to vote and not how they told her to vote. When she told me that story I clearly remember thinking … YOU GO GIRL. Except maybe not those exact words. But I do remember being genuinely proud of her that no one was telling my mom what to do. Nobody puts Donna in a corner. 🙂
She taught me that no matter what happens, tomorrow is another day.
She taught me to “trust in the Lord with all my heart”.
She taught me to pray for my children … because she prayed for hers.
She taught me how to love my husband … because of how well she has loved hers.
She taught me to love my children’s friends because she loved (and still loves) mine.
She taught me that people will let you down. Sometimes even those closest to you … but you have to keep on going. Once someone very close to her was honored at an event in which she was not personally invited. Instead of letting it get her down …. she bought a ticket to the event and when the time came, she offered a very heartfelt congratulations. She was so proud and wanted to acknowledge the achievement that person had received. In my opinion, that was doing the hard … but classy thing. And she did it beautifully.
My mom taught me to admit when I make mistakes. She will tell you over and over again …. “I’m not perfect” …. and she’s not, none of us are … but she sure does keep trying.
She taught me that “pretty is as pretty does” and she wasn’t talking about looks.
Speaking of looks … to this day when I am driving up to her house, I’ll put on some lip gloss. If I don’t she will likely say … “honey, your lips need a little color”.
My mom taught me to evaluate things and make my own decisions. Once a lot of parents were making (what I considered) a pretty big decision for their children. I was dreading she and my dad telling me the same thing. Instead … when we got home she and my dad sat me down and said … “what do you think about this?”. We discussed it and they agreed to let me make my own decision. I was a junior in high school and at THAT moment I thought … “I have the coolest parents ever”. They didn’t get caught up in the “well, everyone else is doing it for their kids” thing and trusted me in that situation. I think about it all the time and hope Bill and I give our children the same respect.
When it came to looks she would say “act as pretty as you look”. If I didn’t, I was in trouble.
She taught me how to be a mom. And that it’s ok to not always get it right.
And I’m pretty sure she taught me to love candy corn.
Happy, HAPPY Birthday Mom!!! I love you!!
And just to prove this girl knows how to party … here’s a view of her party from a few years ago.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/6650846 w=500&h=275] Celebrating 70!!! from Darla Baerg on Vimeo.