My mom is a part of me. She is a big part of any success I have enjoyed. Mom taught me to move confidently in the direction of my dreams. Each moment of each day requires my active participation. Mom stirs me to right actions.
Mom’s been there for the failures. She helped me get up to try a 10th time when I’d fallen the previous nine. The long rides home after losing games. Not getting that bonus or commission. When the girl I had a crush on had other ideas. I can hear her saying our favorite Seinfeld line spoken by Jerry’s mom, “Who wouldn’t like Jerry?”
Mom made sure our childhood was filled with songs, laughter and adventure. She not only encouraged our exploration and imagination, she required it! When she said “go outside and play,” it meant go outside and play. Whether it was building forts, snowmen or putting on the “neighborhood circus,” Mom was encouraging us. These were lessons in self-reliance. We were responsible for creating our own happiness.
As a kid, Mom would drive us to the lake or ocean. We didn’t need a radio. Rollicking over country roads Mom led us in songs requiring our wit and creativity in sing-song verse like “A my name is Andrew, my wife’s name is Anna we come from Alabama and we sell Apples” where the four of us kids would go through the alphabet from A to Z with a different story for each letter. We were part salesman and part geographers all in one. Try the letter Z or Q. It was amazing how time flew by before someone yelled out “I see the water!”
When we were older, Mom would have the four of us and any neighborhood kids who wanted to sit in a circle and read. Each kid would read a couple of paragraphs from a book. The exercise taught us confidence and public speaking skills along with reading and improved vocabulary. It prepared us for college and future careers. It taught us to speak up.
Living in a small town, Mom went to lengths to expose us to “the arts,” bringing us to local summer theater. On hot summer nights there would be the four kids sucking on Lifesavers watching in fascination small time productions of “The King and I,” “Man of Le Mancha,” “West Side Story” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” where when the ghost scene played out I attempted to flee the building in fear.
In addition to making sure we made it to practice, scout meetings and 4-H, Mom took us to church on Sunday and altar boy training. During the season of Lent, Mom brought us to Stations of the Cross where my brother and I would serve as assistants to Father Kelso.
One year there was a blizzard and we could not make it to church for Stations. We kids thought fate had shined on us. Then Father Kelso pulled into our driveway. We did not know he had prearranged to pick something up from my Mom before his next emergency stop. My Mom, who likes a good joke, told us all he was coming to the house to do Stations. We all groaned. I can still hear my then teenaged sister saying “Are you kidding me?” I am grateful for the roots of faith Mom showed me.
Mom taught us values, to work hard, to be kind. She is active in her faith and community. She takes great joy in her life. I have great fun with her. She is my friend.
Washington Irving said it best:
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us, when adversity takes the place of prosperity, when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us, when trouble thickens around us, still she will cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return in our hearts.”
Thanks Mom. I love you.
Filed Under: Life, Liberty and Leadership