Halloween is my mom’s 89th birthday. The holiday was never about candy for my family it was about celebrating her love.
My daughter and I sent the sweater she’s holding as a gift. My sister sent her a pumpkin hat. Is that a hoot or what?
With 10 children, dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren she has more visitors, flowers and gifts than everyone else in her community put together. And she shares them all! The nurses and aides call her the candy and flower lady.
Mom’s 9 most valuable lessons.
1. Turn the other cheek. Mom doesn’t like conflict. She didn’t like it when my siblings and I fought or held a grudge. She was a promoter of forgiveness.
When I first met Roger (my hubby) I was nearly sixteen. When I got “so mad I couldn’t see straight” over some ridiculous thing she would tell me, “He’s a good guy, give him another chance.” I listened!
2. When you’re upset do something physical. We had an 88 acre produce farm and grew ton’s of fruits and vegetables. As a kid, when my mom was upset, mad or furious at someone instinct told me where to find her. She’d be in the biggest field of weeds hoeing her heart out. She wouldn’t quit until there wasn’t a trace of anger left.
As a young mother I learned how to defuse my anger by running. I would run until the feelings passed, sometimes up to eleven miles. I’d return home with a new attitude, exhausted but free, a gift that continues today.
3. Enjoy your work. We worked in the fields from sun up until sun down. Harvesting summer crops was a back-breaking job. We’d go from field to field picking beans, tomatoes, pickles and more. My mom was right there with us doing what ever it took to keep our minds off our work.
She’d make up contests involving who could pick the fastest, find the biggest and finish the quickest.
Under the hot sun she taught us the same songs her mother sang to her as a child. The same songs that her grandchildren are singing to her great grandchildren today. She magically made our work playful and even enjoyable (at times)!
4. Be generous. She shares everything. If you give my mother a gift her next visitor will take it home (except her new sweater, she wore it all month). Her biggest joy in life is making someone else happy. She will give you the clothes off her back even if you don’t need them.
Any “troubled” cousins in the family were dropped off at “the farm” with hopes of their lives being turned around in a few months. My mom welcomed them, fed them and treated them like royalty. Not an easy thing to do in my opinion!
Because of her heart of gold she can’t keep abundance from raining down on her, even today!
5. Have faith! The farm profits were spend on our parochial education. My mom taught us how to pray, how to keep on keepin’ on no matter what the circumstances. A sign in our kitchen read, “The family that prays together stays together.”
We prayed for good weather, good sales, that a cousin would overcome cancer and that grandfather would go to heaven. Her answer to everything was prayer and faith. It still is. A day hasn’t gone by where she hasn’t had a rosary in her hands.
If you have a prayer request call my mom! Prayer has given her a life long purpose.
6. Eat dinner together daily. We learned to take interest in each others lives. We talked, argued, and laughed at the kitchen and dining room table. When my sisters started dating our boyfriends would say their ears hurt due the loud laughter and noise!
My mom loved to cook. This trait I did not inherit!
My family ate dinner together as well every evening. I believe it’s the glue that holds families together. My oldest daughter has the same dining room table and chairs in her kitchen today.
7. Flowers are beautiful. We had a large flower garden in front of our home. The colors were stunning and the fragrances divine. It was a peaceful place in an otherwise drama filled life. It was my mom’s pride and joy.
I had a successful flower business for fifteen years while raising the girls.
Prior to moving to Arizona I always had plants and flowers in my home. In the summer months I bought several bouquets twice a week at the Farmer’s Market. I think I was a bee in another life time!
8. Never give up. When our youngest girls, the twins went to kindergarten I went back to school part time. I spent nine and a half years getting my bachelors degree. It was the same strength and determination I witnessed growing up that kept me moving forward.
I would say it’s the same qualities that make me determined to continue learning today’s technology. On my worst days I joke I want to give my computer away and forget I ever owned one!
9. Love. When I think of how to describe the love my mom has for the world and other people I’m reminded of 2 quotes from Anne Frank:
“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”
Happy 89th Birthday, Mom..I love you!