Like Mother, Like Daughter
by Tera Warner
My mom was barely 20-years old when I came into the world.
She taught me to say “please” and “thank you,” look both ways before crossing the street and tell the truth no matter what. She made me eat what I was served, wear the clothes I had and be grateful for what I was given.
She wallpapered my room with little country characters and bought me a Strawberry Shortcake sheet set when I was 7. I got a Barbie camper for Christmas that same year, too.
My mom baked her own cinnamon buns and made our Halloween costumes (we always won the school costume prizes). She made us do Sunday school lessons from a workbook when we lived too far from church, and while I was outside playing for hours and free as a bird, she was busy making meals and keeping on top of the laundry.
I was 24 when Mika came into the world.
I tried to teach her to say her “please” and “thank you” and look both ways before crossing the street. I told her to eat what was on her plate (green smoothies and chia seeds), wear what she had and be grateful for what she was given.
I bought her a birthday bike with pink tassels on the handles and made a rainbow cake covered in fruit that was so big it took three people to carry!
Life’s Best Lessons Are Lived, Not “Taught”
I say “please” and “thank you,” and look both ways when I cross the street. I do tell the truth no matter what.
But the best lessons Mom taught me had nothing to do with what she said and everything to do with what she DID and the way she lived.
When things were tough, she looked for solutions. She didn’t “give up” or run away, she tried to make things better.
When she screwed up, she didn’t hide it or dwell on it. She knew how to sit in the fire of her mistakes and own them. But she woke up the next day and did her best to be a bigger, better, braver person than she’d been the day before.She talked more than other people were comfortable with, but she wasn’t afraid to say what she thought or to stand for the things she believed in. A lot of the time, what she stood there believing in was me.
Lately I’ve stopped giving Mika my spiritual soapbox talks and ethical lectures on how to live. I don’t even know if she looks both ways before she crosses the street.
I guess I finally noticed the the best parts of who I am and how I live I picked up from my Mom just by watching what she did, not what she said.
She wasn’t perfect. She never tried to be. She did her best with what she could and woke up willing to make tomorrow a little bit better.
All those pleases and thank yous were helpful navigating some relationships, but they weren’t what held me up when Life’s waves crashed me on the shore.
It was that I always knew I’d get through it. I knew if there was a solution, I could find it and I would make things work with what I had. I wasn’t afraid to be honest about my mistakes and knew I could get up the next day and be a little better and a little braver than I’d been the day before.
The best thing I ever learned from watching you, was the courage to stay true to me. I’m pretty sure Mika’s been watching and has learned a few of these things, too.
Happy Mother’s Day. 🙂