Gifts From My Mother

April 2nd, 2010 by Mary Jo

Recently, while cleaning someone else’s bathroom floor, I thought to myself, ”My mother would have had a fit.” Although the middle of the floor had been kept clean, the sides, corners, and behind the door hadn’t been cleaned in years. I was taken back to my teens, with my mother telling me how important it was to clean thoroughly, and me arguing back, ”Who cares; no one ever sees it anyway?” She was teaching me the right way to clean, and as a teen, I was arguing for the easy way. Now, years later, I was witnessing what happens when you don’t know how to clean properly. Not only had I never thanked my mother for teaching me this valuable skill, I had argued with her about it.

My mother passed away before I owned a house, was married, or had children. While she was alive, I was in frequent touch and told her how much I loved her, but while cleaning this bathroom floor, I realized she gave me so many gifts I had never really thought about — gifts I use or benefit from to this day. So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my mother for all the gifts I didn’t know were gifts:

• Teaching us that a clean house is important, but family time was more important.

• Showing us that people were more important than things. No matter what broke, spilled or went wrong, you always asked ”Are you ok?” before you asked about the things.

• Having us work beside you until we could do the job right by ourselves.

• Making us clean the kitchen and stay there until everyone was finished. At the time, I thought you were just trying to make sure the whole job was done and no one said, ”That’s not my job.” Now I realize you were also creating bonds between us siblings.

• Making us go to our siblings’ activities. This increased our circle of support and helped keep us out of trouble.

• Teaching us to be polite to older or lonely people — sometimes that is the only chance they get to communicate all day.

• Being there to listen when we needed someone to listen (I doubt anyone realizes what a gift this is until their mother is gone), and listening to us with your full attention — not only to us but to our friends as well.

• Believing in me. To this day, I think of you when I am having challenges.

• Teaching me how to iron, stand up straight, and swim.

• Enjoying my company and biting your tongue when I came up with my grand philosophical ideas.

• Letting me learn and accepting that Chemistry was as hard for me as Spanish was for you.

• Showing me that even after failures or problems, we can pick ourselves up and go on with life.

As we approach this Mother’s Day, I hope we can all take the time to think about the intangibles gifts from our mothers and the other important women in our lives.

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6 Responses to “Gifts From My Mother”

  1. Barb Zimmerman Says:

    I hope that I have taught my children about those things too. Sometimes, when I am very tired, I worry that I left something out. I hope my grandchildren are learning them too.

  2. Mary Jo Says:

    Thank you for your kind words, I am so glad that as an adult, my friends became friends with her also.

  3. Mary Jo Says:

    Kim, it sounds like your mother was very creative at getting her message across. I am glad that you have many moments that bring back happy memories.

    As I’ve grown older, I have learned that I was both lucky and blessed to have my mother. She was like the Pied Piper with young children. There were so many times I wanted to pick up the phone and say, Mom, what do I do? I also wonder how many times my mother left the room or bit her cheeks so that she didn’t burst out in laughter at some of the things we did as kids. I never noticed anything, but I am sure that happened, just knowing kids and knowing her!

  4. Maura Schofield Says:

    Beautiful words from a beautiful woman who in her own right has given many gifts. Your mother was a special lady and she taught you the unique art of giving the most precious gift of all YOU!!

  5. Stephen at Chinaberry Says:

    Kim’s mom sounds like my mom (and like my grandma). I miss them both.

  6. Kim Says:

    I love this! I miss my mom so much. Every time I clean, I think about her spotless house, her singing her favorite hymns while she cleaned. One day, I asked her why she was singing. She just smiled and said that she was doing her favorite things; praising God and doing things for her family. I knew instantly that I was in trouble when I asked her if doing “two things” at once saved time. She sent me to my room and told me to keep my feet up so that she could sweep under them!

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