Today is my beautiful mama's birthday. My relationship with her has been one of the best things in my life. She is the person who answers 2AM phone calls and talks me through heartbreak. She jumps in her car and drives the 2,000 miles from her state to mine when she knows I need an extra kick of strength. Most importantly, she is the woman who reminds me that I am a child of God and can do all through Him only. She grounds me, humbles me, shows me that life is so much more than a series of nonchalant events. My mother is my everything, and I am lucky everyday that God placed such a strong role model in my life from the beginning. I could never fit all of the life lessons she's taught me into one blog post, even if I wrote one a day for the rest of my life. I can, however, share seven crucial daily habits that she has taught me from the beginning so I can grow into a strong, independent, loving woman. Here are the seven habits that I still practice today:
Mom's sense of humor is out of control. She is the most hilarious, sarcastic person I've ever met. She's taught me to always look for the humor in tense situations, and use that to get through them. I cannot tell you how invaluable this has been to me in my daily life. When I just seriously cannot take anymore of someone's ignorance, or a tough situation I'm in, I think of what my sarcastic mother would say about it and smile. Suddenly, it seems a little bit easier to get through.
Look For Opportunities To Help Others
She does not only help others when needed, my mother actively seeks out opportunities to help others as a part of her daily routine. She walks her dog for an hour and a half every morning by the river, and looks for neighbors she can help along the way. She does everything from offer to get groceries for them to bringing them her famous homemade cookies to just keeping them company as they face a difficult day so they know they are not alone.
Own Your Story
My mom has never, ever been ashamed of the stories she has walked through in life. From the time I remember, she has spent the day telling even the most painful tidbits of her life to others in order to let them know that they are not alone in their own pain. Every single day she knows exactly who she is, what she has been through and who she is becoming. She does this by owning everything she has been through and using it as a building block to get to where she wants to be. It is the most positive, inspiring process to watch.
Find Your Inner Child
Every day we all have things that we don't want to do. Whether it's going to that meeting we are dreading, or going to that all-day Saturday volunteer group that we signed up for a month ago. As I've grown into adulthood, my mom has noticed moments in which the stress has just truly gotten to me. She taught me that in times of great stress, it's best to do something that feeds your inner child at least once a day. For me, this is writing with absolutely no interruptions like I used to do when I got home from school as a child, or it's running away to a frozen yogurt stand and raiding all of their mochi. For her, it's driving along Wisconsin's old farm roads blaring her Christian music, or getting a chocolate dipped cone from Dairy Queen. Basically, it's doing anything that disconnects you from your responsibilities for a moment in time so you can feel like a child again in life's most stressful times.
To be honest, I have felt a strong connection to God and my faith since I was born. My mom has fostered that through telling me about her own relationship with God and strongly encouraging Sunday School and involvement in a church community. Everyday she sends me text messages with quotes that remind me to trust God throughout my day, and find strength in my faith.
Mom recently went without hot water for three weeks. THREE WEEKS. I have no idea how someone can live without hot water for that long. Instead of ever complaining about it, she just told me that she learned microwaving a warm washrag for 30 seconds does wonders. When I finally told her that I could not understand her lack of complaining around her hot water issue she said, "Well, honey, my hot water issue is nothing compared to your root canal you had last week. I mean, I look at my neighbor that just went to the hospital and your root canal and think, 'Yea, I can live without hot water. It's not that big of a deal.'"
Find Your Peace
Every day my mom does something to get closer to God and to her peace. This can be through listening to one of her favorite Christian music songs, walking her 70 pound dog, visiting my grandma's Alzheimer's unit, etc. She finds small ways each day to connect to her true self and find her sliver of peace in the world. This helps her keep calm and remain graceful through life's turbulence.
[bctt tweet="Find small ways each day to connect to her true self and find her sliver of peace in the world."]
I follow these tips everyday now that they have actually become habits in my life, and they have saved my life on numerous occasions and helped me to grow into someone my mother can be proud of. I thank God every day for sending a true angel into my life to constantly remind me what's important in life, and how to be a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman with grace.
Happy Birthday, Mama.
-Marji J. Sherman