Life Lessons I Learned from my Mother

If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

My mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer; invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast, to be exact. The gripping fear I felt upon hearing those ugly words was like a cold, hollow ache in the pit of my stomach. I felt paralyzed. The name sounded evil and menacing and vile. The name sounded fatal.

Worry about nothing. Pray about everything.

Though she and the doctors did their best to assure us it was treatable, even curable, I couldn’t help but think of the horrors associated with cancer: chemotherapy, hair loss, hours spent in waiting rooms and receiving treatment, nausea, vomiting, metastasis, recurrence. And the worst case scenario: death. How could I live without my mother?

Do your best and let God take care of the rest.

In the weeks following this horrible news, I spent many hours contemplating all the ways my mother impacts my life on a daily basis: a note received in the mail on a topic she thinks I might like to write about, an e-mail with a new recipe for turkey chili, a phone call to check on the kids or encourage me on my diet. Though we live 300 miles apart, we burn up the phone lines and the I-35 corridor as often as our busy lives allow. There is no problem too big or small for Mom. She is always there to listen, offer advice or give encouragement.

Children learn by example, so make it a good one.

Mom is an accomplished artist, teacher, master gardener and grandmother. She attends church and Bible study regularly, takes painting classes, teaches private art lessons, volunteers at the local Botanical Center, goes fishing with my father, organizes family get-togethers and celebrations and baby-sits grandchildren constantly. But no matter what her busy life entails, I need only say, “I need you, Mom,” and she is here for me. No questions. No hesitation.

You can never love your children too much.

Her life lessons began as early as I remember. She raised my siblings and me with high standards, strong principles, discipline and love. Kindness, honesty and manners were of utmost importance. Family time was treasured. Our home was happy and filled with laughter and love. My memories of my mother and her role in my childhood have guided me each and every day as I raise my own children. I hear her voice in my head as I struggle to make good choices.

Words said in anger can never be taken back.

When you mess up, say you’re sorry.

Don’t be late. It’s rude.

Her role in my life didn’t stop when I turned 18 and moved away from home. It grew and flourished into the deep and nurturing relationship we have today. She is my friend, adviser, confidante, and unfailing ally. She is my first call when I have something wonderful to share, and the one I turn to when I am frustrated, angry, hurt or confused. Her love is unconditional and her advice is sound. She showers me with life lessons every day, and I am thankful for each day she blesses my life. A mother’s influence knows no bounds.

No baby ever suffered from being rocked to sleep, so rock her if you want to!

Take your children to church. Raise them to love God and look to Him for guidance in all things.

Everything cooked in an iron skillet tastes better.No matter what the future holds, my mom has left an indelible print on my life and the lives of my children. Her wisdom will live on in me, her words will flow through my lips, her faith gives me strength, and her love gives me courage. All that I know about being a good wife and mother I learned from my mother.

Build up your children with unconditional love, support and prayer.

Be kind. Be forgiving. Be honest.

Mothers, each day we are given opportunities to shape lives. Our words will be remembered and passed on. Our actions will be emulated. Our smiles and hugs and kisses will be treasured in the hearts of our families. So treat each day as though it’s your last, and make every moment count. Your children are watching and listening. They are learning from you. Life lessons are passed on every day. As my mom loves to tell me: There is no job more important than the one you are doing at home.

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