Three lessons from Mom

8 May

My mom as a newlywed

One of the biggest parts of my transition from Virginia to Florida is being so far from my close friends and family. While the isolation has brought much clarity, I miss regularly seeing people who’ve known me half or all of my life.

Today we celebrate our mothers. I won’t see mine on this day (a 15 hour drive on a Sunday is not happening). Instead I’m sharing a few lessons courtesy of my mom.

1. You can teach an old dog new tricks

For as long as I can remember, my mom has been anti-technology. In the early days of the VCR, she would always yell from downstairs for help to get a movie started. We would clamor down the stairs to find her helplessly punching a remote, ready to throw it into the trash can. Since her young children and gadget-loving husband were always happy to assist her, she never got comfortable operating technology by herself.

That is until her world of work started embracing more and more technology. Anxiety over PowerPoint training? I still remember the heavy sighs. She saw young people enter her field with black belts in technology. She knew how long it would take her to learn it. She was starting from level 1; they were entering the field at level 10. Many people in her position would have folded and considered early retirement, but not my mom. After leaving a long career as a sales manager, she became the first paid president of the Chamber of Commerce in my small hometown. She once held this position as a volunteer, and was the first woman in the history of the town to do so. When you don’t have a staff to operate the technology for you, you have to learn it yourself.

Mom attended seminar after seminar and even became the webmistress (as my dad calls her) for the Chamber’s site. Because of her research, she knew she needed a Facebook page. She now successfully maintains three Facebook pages (one personal, two professional), and she already has more virtual friends than I do. She now understands more about technology than my dad does.

Lesson: It’s never too late and you’re never too old.

2. When things get too tense, do something ridiculous.

Once on a church trip to Merida, Mexico, after a long trip to the local market which was lined with flies-on-raw-meat in 95 degree, 100 percent humidity weather, everyone was sweating profusely, irritable, mildly sick, and miserable.

My mom jumped into a pool with her clothes on.

After getting over the shock of what she’d done, everyone else (many years her junior) followed her into the pool. Smiles and camaraderie followed. My mom has never been afraid to risk embarrassment to break tension.

In all households, sometimes there are arguments. When my sister and I found ourselves locked in verbal combat with my mom, she would grow tired of it. Instead of escalating the tension further, she would end it quickly with near farce. She once flipped the bird and “beat” us with a flip flop. We immediately dissolved into laughter: fight over.

Lesson: Never take yourself too seriously. It makes for a sad life. Just look at Donald Trump.

3. Accept it, you’re going to turn into your mother

My mom and I bumped heads quite a bit when I was growing up. No surprise, we’re both stubborn and don’t love to admit when we’re wrong.

When I came home complaining about something or someone who’d clearly wronged me, my mom always took the other person’s side. I swore I’d never do that. Major FAIL on that mission: I have turned into the master other-side-taker, irritating everyone around me, just as my mom irritated me.

None of us is perfect, and if we judged ourselves by our worst qualities, we wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. My mom always judged me by my best qualities, else she’d have disowned me long ago.

Lesson: Nurture the best in people and they’ll rise above their worst.

What lessons can we learn from your mom?

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2 Responses to “Three lessons from Mom”

  1. ~Mak~ May 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    I love this and have a new found respect for a woman I already respected so much; and as the mother of a 13 year old I must say the bird and flip-flop idea will be going into my rotation ;-).

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mad Pen: a blog year in review « GOING SOFLO - June 24, 2011

    […] effectively, marriage is less compromise, more growth; spend Christmas in Virginia with my mom, dad, sister and family, Aaron’s parents, and our hometown […]

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