In honour of mother’s day, here is a list of lessons I would never have learned if it weren’t for my amazing mother. She taught me …
- How to love my body
When I was young, I was very self conscious about my body shape. I looked fine to other people, but to myself, I looked fat and huge and gross. And I hid my body all the time. My mom nagged and nagged me to take advantage of my young body and show it off (“I wish I had when I was young … before you know it, you’ll be old like me and you won’t be able to wear nice clothes anymore!”). It took awhile, but eventually the message sunk in. Especially when my mom bought me a two piece bathing suit in high school and told me to wear it to the end of year pool party, or else.
- How to sacrifice for others
My mom is constantly putting others before herself – not just her kids (though she does), but also her husband, her parents, her in-laws, her family in general, her friends, and even random people she met on the street. It takes a special kind of person to walk 10 min back to her car in -20 degree weather to grab a blanket for a homeless person.
- How to respect others
Complaints about our father? Laughter at the expense of our grandparents? Bitching about our mean teachers? None of that was allowed in our house. We showed respect for our elders, or we marched our asses to the stairs. If we wanted to say unkind words about someone else, she would give us such a look that we felt immediately ashamed. She always treated other people as peers and friends, and gave others the benefit of the doubt, and expected us to do the same.
- How to be happy
Growing up, it seemed like my mom was in a perpetually good mood. It was a rare day that we ever heard her complain about anything, even if life was generally awful. She would always find happiness in spending time with us, in taking walks outside, in cooking, and other simple pleasures. She found enormous strength and good cheer in the little things, and used those little happy moments to get her through the big, difficult ones.