At the time of writing this musing, we’re right in between the two holidays that celebrate the parental units in our lives: Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The ones who raised, loved, and taught us the best way they knew how with the tools they knew and had been taught. Whether your parental units were the ones you grew up with or the ones you adopted as parental guides later on in life, I’d like to dedicate this musing to their gifts. It’s more about the learning and growth than the gender or blood relation of your parental guides.
What are you consistently grateful for? What lessons were unbelievably difficult and yet you find yourself returning to them time and again in gratitude for the experience and knowledge learned?
I’d love to share a couple with you.
The first lessons are from my mom. Having someone who truly understands you and can weather the ups and downs is priceless and learning how to embrace the moments that fill your cup are two lessons we can all use.
When I was eight, my mom was suddenly a single parent to five kids. Yes, FIVE kids. These were ridiculously challenging times and yet my mom would find opportunities to go out with her best friend (also a single mom) who lived across the street.
In and of itself this doesn’t sound like much, and yet the adventures they went on were seemingly inappropriate and inspiring. They had fun. They were over the top and laughed HARD. They found ways to help each other through heartbreak and sadness while still striving to be good mothers.
I truly believe these were the beginnings of understanding self-care and the value of strong friendship. The importance of taking time out or having a trusted friend to blow off some steam with. The value of saying “screw the rules” and grabbing hold of joy with both hands – even if just for an evening.
My dad taught me the value of hard work and building community. From cleaning and painting apartments to laying sod and fixing sprinklers, there was no shortage of work to be done. More often than not this work was in service to others. It seemed less about the income received and more about how the work could improve someone’s life. People knew we genuinely cared and they could count on us. It wasn’t superficial or conditional. True, from the heart, kindness. It’s where I get my desire to help and serve the people who cross my path.
And finally, I’d like to share my honorary mom’s lesson of love, acceptance, and support. You know – that person outside your own home who made a lasting impression on you. The one you’re just grateful they were there, for whatever reason, season, or moment.
Mine is my best friend’s mom. She was amazing. Both of her parents were and yet she in particular was a positive female connection when I truly needed it the most. She showed me, by her actions and words, how to accept someone wherever and however they were. I was a mess. I was a hormonal teenager. I hated life and she was a soothing balm.
I pray we can all take moments, year-round, to express gratitude for those who have loved, nurtured, and taught us. Parent, sibling, friend, or child. Living or passed on to other realms. We have something to learn from absolutely everyone. Take a moment to feel gratitude for the gift they gave you. And then send them a hug – whether real, energetic, or virtual ❤️