Some people are taken from us too early but we keep on going cherishing the memories and the legacy they left behind. My mother passed away of cancer when she was 54 and she was one of my best friends. It took a long time to get use to the idea that I wouldn’t be able to call her on the phone and share my week. Those were the days of long distance charges and a list of “must tell mom” notes placed by the phone. But time passes, sadness fades and life goes on. The thing about a legacy is that it’s the everyday memories that form them. It’s time spent together, memories made, conversations shared and traditions celebrated. I learned a lot from my mom in the 27 years that I was blessed to have her on this earth. Not that our time together was all smiles and happy days. We had our share of trials and mother-daughter drama, but we got through it and grew from it.
I love this picture of my mom as a little girl with three generations of grandmothers.
1. I learned the safest place to be was next to mom.
She was always in fashion and I’ll never forget her big leather bag. The safest feeling as a young child was walking next to mom holding onto the strap of her over-sized purse like an additional appendage. Mom was my compass in the big world and her purse my life line.
2. I learned to be a friend and a good listener.
After my mother passed away her friends in Hawaii (she had moved to another state by then) gathered in her honor and celebrated her life. These were women that she invested time listening to, sharing their burdens and most likely in the way my mother did, offering advice in the most gracious way.
3. I learned to laugh out loud with my bestie.
The phone would ring, my mom would retreat into privacy and a belly laugh would insure. Usually quiet and reserved, my mom reserved those all out belly laughs for this time with her most special friend.
4. I learned to savor a walk.
When we walked in the woods it was a slow, in-the-moment, observational walk. The purpose wasn’t to get our heart rate up but rather to calm our hearts and discover the beauty all around us.
5. I learned that creativity has many forms and to keep developing them.
When I was young we spent a few minutes each night cuddled up in bed with a pencil and a notebook. We’d pick a topic and write a creative story about it. Of all of my childhood memories, this time with her is my most favorite and one I shared with my daughters. I recall a stinky bucket of some type of crustacean that was going to get cleaned out and strung up as a Christmas ornament one year. A painting hung in our dining room of a face within a face that she painted. Later on in life she baked, gardened and dried flowers. She was happy when she was creating. I learned that from her.
6. I learned the importance of traditions.
Traditions give us a feeling of security amidst the changes and challenges of life. Among other things my mother taught me that eating a meal around the table is the most important part of the day. She taught me that a turkey leg will wiggle when it’s done and Sunday afternoon beach days were worth waiting for all week.
7. I learned how to be a Nana.
When she became a grandma I saw a new side of my mom, a grandma that cherished her granddaughters, played with them, pampered them and adored them dearly. She taught me how to be a Nana to my precious granddaughter.
8. I learned that chocolate makes life a little sweeter.
I should actually give credit to my grandmother who worked at Sees candy for my family’s love of chocolate. She use to bring home brown paper bags full of the rejects of the day. One person’s reject is another person’s deep rich chocolate treasure. My mother carried on the tradition making chocolate cake, chocolate brownies and you name it, if it was dessert, it was chocolate. Thankfully I discovered the amazingness that is Cacao and whole leaf stevia. I now can enjoy my chocolate and reap the benefits of healthy antioxidants. Thanks Mom!
My mom wasn’t perfect and I have learned from that too. But I choose to move past those imperfections and appreciate all that she contributed to my life and the legacy she left behind. Mom would have been 76 years old today. I imagine she would still be dressing stylishly, wearing her big charm bracelet that made a distinct sound as the charms clinked together. She’d be creating something beautiful, something that gave her joy, something that brought her happiness. She’d probably share a hearty belly laugh with her bestie today too. Happy birthday mom and thanks for the lessons you’ve taught me. xoxo
I can’t wait to share about my wonderful step-mother who has taught me so many life lessons as well with her incredible optimistic outlook on life. I’m blessed.