Last week I shared some reflections on lessons that my father taught me. Tonight is my turn to do the same thing for my mother on the 30th anniversary of her 46th birthday.
It is no secret that our most important teachers are not the ones we find in elementary schools, high schools, or universities; they are our parents. We take this for granted in our younger years spending most of our time believing that our parents know absolutely nothing. It is only when we mature through life that we realize that our parents may have, in fact, forgotten more than we will ever learn.
Mom, you are always there for me and this is something I often take for granted. There are lessons that you taught me in my life that I did not appreciate at the time. I resented the fact that you always volunteered Jimmy and me up for things such as cleaning the Convent at St. Cecilia, mowing Larry Lasagna’s lawn, and even becoming altar servers. I look back now in the rearview mirror of my brief 35 years and realize that you gave me many gifts that I never properly thanked you for. Five of these gifts are outlined below:
1. The joy of serving. Whether it was being altar servers, volunteering for activities in Church, or helping out our neighbors, you taught me how important it is to serve others. I truly believe now that it is only in serving that we can find true happiness and we often walk away from these experiences receiving more than we have given. I put up a fight when you asked me to do many things in service to either you or others; honestly, sometimes I felt as if you were singling me out. Regardless, I am sorry for being argumentative and want to thank you for teaching me the joy of serving others.
2. The importance of being on time. We only lived one mile from Church yet you would always allow a full 30 minutes to get to Mass. Being on time for appointments is a way to show respect to your hosts as well as your guests. Thanks to you, I have never showed up to a meeting late or missed a flight. Thank you for stressing the importance of being on time.
3. The Greatest Gift you can give is Your Time. When I was growing up, you always made it a point to spend time with each of your children one on one. Having three children I know how hard this is to do yet I see the joy and sparkle in my children’s eyes when I can spend time with them alone. Furthermore, you showed me how important it is to spend time with your family while they are young vs. pursuing personal interests. You often see me on the weekends spending time with the kids and not taking time to myself because of your example.
4. The Art of Consolation. I remember when I was in College Bea Kelly’s mother died and you asked Jimmy and me to come to the wake with you. I remember seeing a look of surprise on Mrs. Kelly’s face and how much it meant to her that we were there. I likely went to that wake kicking and screaming but left feeling better about myself because I helped someone feel better during a difficult time. Thank you for showing me the importance of consoling others.
5. Mothers know us best. I went through a large portion of my life feeling as if you did not understand me. At some point in my life, though, I realized that you know me better than I know myself. Thank you for always being there for me.