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.