When asked the question, "What things has my mother taught me?", things like; how to set a table, when to wear white, how sit up straight, do come to mind, but these weren't the lessons that have moved me in my 44 years as a daughter. The real lessons were these:
Mom taught me to love. I'm not talking love, I am talking LOVE, that kind that hurts your heart when you imagine losing it. That was the first thing. I learned that right off the bat, probably at birth.
Mom taught me that you won't die from being embarrassed or being sad or being wrong or from a broken heart, as long as you don't kill yourself. Hell, if SHE didn't die of embarrassment after walking through The Mart in LA with a dirty mini pad stuck to her skirt from the woman who used the gym locker before her, I wasn't going to die from walking down the hall in tenth grade with a spot of blood on the bottom my white pants or discovering my fly unzipped after PE. I also wasn't going to die after my boyfriend of six years broke my heart. In fact, I was just beginning to LIVE.
Mom taught me that making mistakes is a great way to LEARN. I learned that marriages don't get better or easier by throwing them away and starting over. Her five marriages and four divorces has led to my one marriage and zero divorces (so far).
Mom taught me that making amends is a powerful way to heal wounds. Owning up to your part of things makes all the difference when you have hurt someone, even if it wasn't intentional or you don't think you did anything wrong. Not only does it feel better to soften your heart and get vulnerable, but it brings you closer. Always.
Mom has taught me that you don't need anyone's permission or approval to do what you love and be great at it. A non-professional writer since her 20's, Mom has been writing poetry and prose, stories and even taking writing classes into her 50's, writing a blog in her 60's and now, is learning to paint with oils just because it makes her heart sing. She inspires me with her willingness to DO artistic things without the need to be perceived as good, which she is!
My favorite thing my mom has taught me is to laugh. Laugh at yourself, laugh at your foibles, express your humility and your spirituality with your firm acceptance that we are all works in progress.
I am very fortunate to realize how much my mother has to teach. Her wisdom shared; remember to laugh, be unafraid to let your heart sing, learn from your mistakes, be open to love, be vulnerable with yourself and those you care about, the salad fork goes on the left, outside the dinner fork, and don't wear white linen after Labor Day.