Things my Mother taught me

I miss my Mom. Five years ago she passed away from lung cancer. She smoked. She quit cold turkey the day she found out she had Cancer. The news was devastating although not surprising due to her smoking for so many years. I truly believe that the ten months she lived after the diagnosis were possibly some of the best months I spent with her. Obviously it was terrible to see her suffer through chemotherapy and the many hospitalizations she experienced from side effects of the radiation, but we knew our time together was limited so it seemed more precious than all the rest.

My Mom was so wise. She taught me many things but she never lectured or criticized while she taught. She was patient and kind. She taught me how to take wax off the floors with Little Bo Peep ammonia. Gosh how my sisters & I hated that job. We would use steel wool pads and the ammonia to soften & scrub the wax off the floors….only to have her wax them again!!! Our fingers would  get sores on them from the combination of the scrubbing motion and the harsh ammonia as well as the steel pad. She was proud of her nice shiny floors though. Maybe that’s where I get my obsessiveness about my clean hardwood floors?? I honestly don’t know how often we had to do this chore, but it would come around much too quickly that is for sure.

She taught me how to like delicious foods-(or what we considered delicious foods) like creamed tuna on toast, sardines in a can, fried bologna, goulash and Little Debbie treats. When I was in elementary school I could go home for lunch. We lived three blocks from school and I used to run home as quickly as I could to eat creamed tuna on toast with my Mom. It was our special time as all three of my sisters were older and their schools were too far away for them to come home.

She taught me that she would always stand behind me no matter what. I was the baby of the family and provoked my sisters often. I knew that I could always run to my mom and she would make all of them leave me alone. I’m not saying that was always in my best interest, but I trusted my Mom unconditionally. When I was in high school I was a member of the school’s Pom Pon squad. On one occasion, (truly only ONE) a few of us found ourselves in somewhat of a “predicament” and my Mom came to the rescue. Once again, this rescue was not in my best interest, but we all truly appreciated it and learned a great lesson in spite of being let off the hook when we did not deserve it. She taught me trust.

She taught me perseverance. She supported me on everything I ever tried to do. In elementary school when I wanted to be on the school patrol, run track, or be editor of the school newspaper, she told me to go for it. In junior high when I wanted to try out for gymnastics, cheerleading, and track she told me to go for it.  In high school, whether it was Pom Pon, track, gymnastics, school yearbook, school newspaper or student council, she always said go for it. I can still remember her quizzing me on medical terms when I was in nursing school. She struggled with some of the pronunciations of those terms, but did not give up on helping  me study. She pushed me to do my best & she believed in me.

She taught me respect. She taught me to choose wisely when it came to the man I would marry. She had a definite opinion about the guys I dated and when it came to my husband, she approved of him from day one. She could spot a good one when she saw it. My girls often said, “I hate to say it Mom, but I think Grandma loves Dad more than you.” Which of course I knew wasn’t really true but it sure was wonderful having her love and respect him so much! While we raised our girls she never once told us we were not doing things right. She never offered advice unless we asked for it. She respected us as parents and let us do our own thing.

LOVE. She definitely taught me to love. Family was by far the most important thing to my mom. She clung tightly to us at the end and made  my sisters and I promise to “not fight” and stay close. We’ve tried. We really have. The mileage between us makes it hard but the one thing we all have that keeps us together is our mother’s love.

Gosh I miss my Mom.

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