Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day

Image courtesy of Adrian.
There is no doubt about it, your mom has a big influence on who you are and who you become. Mom and dad, and stress can affect whether you become, at all.

As you grow, the lessons learned apron-side, span the generations; an invisible heirloom, often passed on from mothers to daughters to grand-daughters, much like this story that made the email rounds several years ago:

The new bride decides to make her mother's famous brisket recipe to impress her husband. While passing through the kitchen, her husband noticed that she cut off the ends of the brisket. Wisely, he kept quiet until after the meal, when he asked why she cut off the best part of the meat. 

She replied, "Oh, that's the way my mother always does it." 

The following week, she went to her grandmother's house, where she watched her grandmother cut off the ends of the brisket.

"Why do you do that, grandma?" she asked.

"That's the only way the meat will fit into the pan," replied the grandmother. 


Nature and nurture. Nurture and nature. A time-old question, one which is not cleanly, nor easily dissected. In my opinion, both matter, but the degree is dependent upon a number of variables.

A recent chat with someone on Twitter revealed a fear of swimming. This person was not afraid of the water because of a bad experience, but rather because of a transferred fear from the mother, who had a bad experience in the water.

Lessons abound. You're always learning; the question is whether the lesson is the one that you wish to learn.

On Mother's Day, you pay homage to mothers, present and past. Mothers by blood and mothers who, although unrelated, grandly and gladly fulfill that role.

This post is to honour my mother who passed away from ovarian cancer.
Thank you for these and many other positive lessons:

  1. Never leave home without a dime in your shoe. (Yes, you can tell how long ago I learned that lesson!)
  2. Eye contact is important.
  3. When preparing a meal, double the recipe. You'll save time and energy.
  4. There's always room at the table for more guests.
  5. Manners matter.
  6. Allow yourself time to arrive at your destination - it's impolite to keep others waiting.
  7. Do your chores. It was preparation for that thing called life. (Oh boy!, did I hate some of those chores!)
  8. Chewing gum in public doesn't look good.
  9. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Long before it was fashionable to be green.
  10. Forgive freely.
As was to be expected, I did pick up some lessons that she likely didn't intend to pass on to me. Awareness helps with those.

I am also thankful for the lessons she didn't pass on to me; the weighty ones such as her horrific early experiences in Holland during World War 2. She taught me to be open-minded, that people were people, regardless of ethnicity.  

As she was dying she also took the time to explain that our alcoholic father, who had died the year before, was proud of us; even if he could never say it, much less show it. Thank you, Mom, for your strength, your courage, your generosity.

What are some of the positive lessons you've learned from your mother?

6 comments:

  1. 1. Never leave home without a hankie (tissues were unheard of back then).
    2. Never eat with your mouth open.
    3. Eating on the street was bad manners.
    4. Ladies didn't smoke. As a five year old I walked up to a very 'posh' neighbour mid puff and blurted out.... My mammy says "Ladies don't smoke"!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your lessons, Grannymar. Out of the mouth of babes!

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  2. There are many stories in other cultures that drive the same message as the brisket one. We all learn many things from our parents. I learnt what not to be from my father's examples past and present and nothing positive from him. I learnt a great deal from my mother, the most important one about being compassionate, including her making me promise that I will look after her husband, my father, who abandoned her for another woman, when no one else would. Yes, she had the foresight to predict that will happen. She also ensured that the grand children were not denied access to their grand father and that is a measure of her character.

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    1. That's a heavy load you carry, Ramana. It seems that you inherited a fair dose of compassion and forgiveness from your mother.

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  3. What a touching post, Marianna. I'm so sorry that you lost your Mom to stage 4 Ovarian cancer.

    From what you have shared and/or demonstrated, you also have much kindness, generosity, courage and determination - were these qualities that you inherited/learned from your mother as well?

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    1. Thanks, Dorlee. How very kind of you.

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