What My Mom Taught Me

PERFECT: being entirely without fault or defect; flawless; satisfying all requirements; corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept

It’s Mother’s Day.  I should write an ode to my perfect mother.  But I can’t.

I’m reminded of something my father once said about funerals.  He said he hates eulogies because when they are over, you can’t recognize the person you came to mourn.  He complained that eulogies only share the “good stuff” and leave out the “real stuff.”  Eulogies make people sound like saints instead of friends.

I feel the same way about most Mother’s Day cards and sentiments.

There is lots of “good stuff” about my mom.  But, there is also lots of “real stuff.”

She meddles.  Like the time she caught Husband ironing and attempted to wrestle the iron out of his hands.  According to my mother, it is unacceptable for a husband to do his own ironing.  To keep the peace, I now make sure Husband is dressed and has put the ironing board away before my mom arrives.

She loses her temper as only an Irish woman can.

She offers unsolicited advice.  Often.  The week before my wedding she mentioned she had been journaling about my faults and offered to share her insights with me.  I declined the offer as politely as I could.

She regularly recommends self-help and personal growth books to her children.  Once, she gave my brother one as a gift.  She even pre-highlighted and tabbed it for his convenience.

She worries about weird stuff.  She is especially concerned about the germs lurking in wet hair waiting to be activated by exposure to the outdoors.

She knows – and uses – bad words.  “Sh*t” is her personal favorite

But, here’s the thing:  I love her.  Today and every day.  She’s my mom.

Her penny-pinching made my childhood experiences and college education possible.  Her sewing skills kept me in custom Hammer Pants with matching hair scrunchies for years.  She introduced me to Gilbert Blythe and Mr. Darcy.  She opened a world of adventure when she took me hiking and camping.  She taught me how to preserve food and host a party on a budget.

I am grateful for all the “good stuff.”  But, I am also grateful for the “real stuff.”

Because in the midst of raising children it is a great comfort to know for certain that children are capable of loving flawed mothers.  I make mistakes.  All. The. Time.

Some mistakes I’m quick to identify and correct.  Others I’m sure I won’t see until hindsight works its corrective vision magic.  My kids will make a different list of my “real stuff” but they will have a list.

Of all the things my mom taught me, I am most grateful for the lesson that flawed mothers are loved every bit as much as the perfect ones.


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