My adolescence felt like an all-day marathon of “Hey Arnold!”
I was awkward looking, girls hated me, and I was constantly figuring how to best maneuver life’s hurdles.
And after each and every of life’s face-plants, I’d be delivered to a patio chat with my mother.
My mom is one of those beautiful souls that you can sit and talk to for hours; she has a contagious laugh that can turn the toughest of anger to tears, and the saddest of moments to genuine fits of laughter.
Those nights sitting and talking with her are some of my fondest memories. Which is shocking because those talks were typically centered around the fact that MY WORLD WAS ENDING.
At least that’s how it felt.
Our talks always ended with words that felt as though they passed right through my heart, and the only escape was a quick retreat through the tear ducts. She always knew just what to say.
As an adult, I’ve cherished these moments far more than I could have back then. They are the building blocks to all the life lessons I learned the hard way. They were literally my moral foundation.
If I could go back and tell myself anything, I’d say that Mom is always right, and “Listen the first time, dammit!”
This list will never be close to complete. But here are a few things that my mother taught me.
1. LOVE AND LOVE HARD
My family has one of those things that families who are too cute for words have to try to define how much we love each other.
My grandma would tell us she loved us to the moon and stars and back again. “To The Moon And Stars And Back Again”. TTMASABA.
As a kid, my mom explained that there was no way in one lifetime you could ever travel to the moon, ALL the stars, and back again. It just wasn’t possible. Therefore, our love never ended.
I never fully learned the truth of this until my grandmother died. She loved, and she loved hard. She didn’t hesitate to love and opened her arms to anyone and everyone she could. She left a legacy of love behind.
My mom’s mom taught her, and my mom taught me, that love isn’t love unless you love with all you got.
So, fall in love as often as you can. Fall in love with songs, with books, with places, and fall in love with people; fall in love with lots of people. But, above all, fall in love with yourself.
2. YOU WILL NEVER HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT
It would be easier to tell you the occasions where my mom didn’t use the phrase “you will never have it all figured out”, than the times when she did.
We all screw up. I’ve had countless times where I thought that was it, that was the moment of shame that was actually going to kill me. I had said something completely stupid because I thought I had it all figured out, only to be knocked on my arrogant ass by the truth. After a few bruises I learned that you gotta stay humble—other people have a lot to teach you.
You will never have it all figured out, but no one else will either. We all need one another, in our own little ways, to make this planet work. So it’s ok to feel like you’re spinning out sometimes, grab on to someone else to help you gain your footing.
3. STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT, EVEN IF IT’S NOT THE POPULAR OPINION
C’mon guys, we really need to get this one right.
“If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal.”Brené Brown
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve totally been the person to go along with what someone else is doing even though I didn’t actually think it was right. The outcome typically involves loads of guilt and remorse over not acting and speaking up.
I’ve also been the person that got a little raw and real with people and voiced my opinion in a full room who would openly challenge my opinion. And let me tell you, people don’t want to hear they’re wrong, and taking a stand is a lot scarier than not saying anything.
Take a stand for what you believe in.
4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY ‘HELLO’
As a child, this was the most mortifying things my family did; they talked to everyone. Everyone.
I couldn’t take my mom anywhere. She was constantly tapping someones shoulder to tell them something nice or make a joke. Back then this was so embarrassing to me. I was that “too cool for school” teenager and I couldn’t be seen with someone who was constantly disarming people.
If there is one thing you learn in life, learn to surprise people. Engage with others, tell them something nice, help when you can, talk, listen, learn, and grow.
My mom is one of the most outgoing individuals you’ll ever meet. She’s the one that doesn’t just give the homeless man on the corner a dollar. She’s the one who walks him over to McDonalds to get him a burger and ask him his story. True story.
Learn to talk to people without a screen in-between.
5. You don’t get to choose who you love
It took me 15 years to come out to my mom and a nano second for her to accept it.
When I told her, I hadn’t even accepted it yet. But she did. She knew in all her wisdom, that there was no use in fighting who I was. Fighting who it was I fell in love with.
We don’t get to choose who we love. Sometimes we fall for the asshole, the pushover, the life of the party, or the scrooge of the world.
But other times, we fall in love with our soulmates and get to spend the rest of our lives teaching our kids the things we learned from our mothers.
Don’t fight who you love, it’s never going to work.
My mom is my best friend in the entire world. My mom is my confidant. She’s my rock, and the first person I immediately reach to call when I face plant over the never ending track of hurdles life lays out for me.
I could write a novel of all the things my mom taught me, but for now I’ll leave you with this. If you strive to be anything in life, be good and never forget to:
- Love with all you got.
- Reach out to others when you feel like you’re spinning out.
- Take a stand for what you believe in.
- Learn to talk to people without a screen in-between.
- Don’t fight who you love, it’s never going to work.
Merry Christmas, Mama Bear.
I love you TTMASABA ✨
Share this Post