Yesterday was my mom's birthday. To celebrate, my older sister Christy and I took Mom to lunch. (I always point out that Christy is my older sister, lest anyone think I am the older one.)
Christy's youngest two children came along 'cause Tuesday's are not her hubby's day off. And Beck came with me 'cause I take his food with me where ever I go and it seems mean to make him go hungry.
Christy's youngest son was jumping up and down on the bench, a normal pastime for an almost 3-year-old. As my sister struggled to get him to eat, it was obvious that she couldn't do anything "right." If she cut his food, it was wrong. If she put his hot food on a different plate, that was wrong. You see how this goes.
"Ah," my mom said sagely, "as a mom you can never do anything right."
"Yeah," my sister and I agreed.
"I feel bad about that, actually," I confessed to Mom.
"Oh," Mom said, pleased that I should want to repent for being such a punk as a kid.
Christy said something off topic that was about her and not about Mom, but we have to excuse her because she had a 3-year-old jumping on her and it is hard to follow adult conversation in a situation like that.
In honor of my mom's birthday I would like to post a list of things my mom did right. In the interest of time I will not post everything that possibly comes across my mind, but the BIG things that have made a difference in my life.
1. She made me practice the piano. In fact, she made all of us practice the piano. There were times that she withheld dinner unless we had practiced for an hour minimum. Even though we thought she was mean and maybe even evil, none of us starved to death and we are all proficient pianists.
2. She was the PTA President in just about every school we were ever in. This was how I knew that education was important to my mom. She was at my school almost as much as I was. She knew my principal, she knew my teachers. She would know if I ever got in trouble before I could have gotten home and confessed, so I didn't get into trouble. She fought to get me into classes I wanted and worked hard to help the school retain the best teachers. When my little sister graduated from high school, the PTA mourned that mom didn't have more kids. They would have loved to have her help forever.
3. Everyday after school mom would sit us down individually and talk about our day. This meant that she would sometimes have to shush my older sister up and reminder her it was my turn. Christy always had a lot to say. When mom asked how my day went, I often began by shrugging my shoulders and saying it was just a regular day. Before long, though, I'd be walking her through the whole day. I don't remember any advice she gave me. But I definitely remember her being there for me to talk to.
4. She taught us the gospel. We said family prayers and read scriptures every night. She taught us to pray by ourselves and bought us our own scriptures so that we could study. We had Family Home Evening every Monday and it was unthought of to ever miss church. Even when we were on vacation we always looked up the local LDS church Saturday night and went to church the next day.
Once my mom packed her pumps, nylons and slip, but forgot to pack her dress. By the time she realized this on Saturday night, there was no time to go buy another dress. Mom went to church anyway. She wore the nicest shirt and slacks she had with her and she wore her nylons and pumps, too. She put her jacket over her lap so it would look more like she had a skirt on, then reminded us that we should always go to church in our nicest clothes. Even though her nicest clothes that day weren't normally church appropriate, it was the best she had and we had no excuses for not getting to church--ever.
5. My mom taught us to be smart with money. She gave us an allowance and responsibility that came with the money. As we got older we became responsible for buying our own clothes, paying for school fees, including extra curricular activities through the school, like choir. If we hadn't planned, then mom might give us a loan. But we got less allowance until we paid her back or we had to work it off, usually in the yard. This taught me how to save and how to plan with my money.
There are at least 32 more things that I could list, but these are the biggies: religion, education, music and money. I'm pretty sure I would be an uneducated, unmusical, spendthrift heathen if it weren't for mom. So, on her birthday--or the day after as the case may be, I say thank you. You have made me the woman I am today.