It's my mother's birthday today. In honour of the occasion, I thought I'd spare her the usual complaining and whining and offer to all of you the 5 Things I've Learned From My Mother:
1. Almost everything can be made better with a snuggle. My mother was always ultra-affectionate, showering us with regular snuggles and kisses. It was never too much (well, maybe from age 13-19). She was never apologetic about her need to show love and receive it in return. (I still have moments where I wish she would hold me on her lap like I was six.) It's made me do the same for my own kids and I wouldn't have it any other way.
2. Every joke has a shred of truth to it. Whenever we'd mock her, she'd bring this nugget of wisdom down on us. If you think about it, it's totally true. And while I joke a lot, I try my best to be mindful of the intent when I do.
3. A genuine smile is the key to many doors. My mom was an immigrant, with supposedly few opportunities with English as her second (probably fourth) language. She ultimately succeeded in the workplace due to her warm way with people. While she's a fluent anglophone now, I'm still amazed at how she crosses language barriers with others of a different background, or how she wins a room over, or gets the discount at the store with a flash of her pearly whites.
4. Always dress your best. If you look like crap, you'll feel like crap was her message to us. And throw in a bit of "You never know who you'll run into." She still (sometimes annoyingly) suggests we put on some lipstick or get out of our yoga pants. But that fake-it-till-you-can-make-it idea does actually work. (Even though I still hate to admit when she's right.)
5. Do something that you love, just for you. My mother is an avid gardener. When we were teens we used to bemoan the spring and summer because we would lose her for hours at a time. She still spends 1/2 the year out there tending to her plants. I think that she secretly loved that we hated gardening, because she could go out there and be on her own, in her own world. (Plants still require love and attention, but unlike kids, they don't talk back.)
Happy Birthday Mom!