There are so many life lessons my mother taught me that influenced me, and many of them have helped me become the person that I am today. When I look back on my childhood and conjure up the memories, my mom is always there. Always.
I was born in the 50’s, went through adolescence and my teen years in the 60’s and 70’s. At that time most moms stayed home and raised the kids. My mom did just that until I was about 13, and that was when my sister went off to college. Mom started working part time to help pay for her education.
Our family was the typical middle class, midwestern family, with Dad, Mom and three kids. Dad worked at an auto plant – we lived in Detroit so everyone worked at an auto plant or in a related industry. We went to church on Sunday, twice, and also on Wednesday. Our faith was a huge part of our life. I’m glad for that.
Both of my parents came from poor immigrant families, so their framework for a family was developed as they raised us kids. We always had what we needed, and even had a pool in the backyard. That was quite the excitement for us!
By far, my memories of childhood, teen years, and adulthood carry with them happy and treasured memories of my family.
When I think about my mom, who is still with me as I write this (she’s 91), several things come to mind. These are the things that I feel most strongly are the life lessons taught by mom to me, and I am so proud to share them with you.
Life Lessons Taught by Mom
Always Trust in the Lord
Our family put faith first. We were not, and still are not, the ‘perfect’ family. We’ve had some tough times, relationship tensions, and other events that affect every family. But above it all, my parents have always placed their trust in the Lord. My mom has never wavered, not once, in her commitment to her faith.
Her faith is almost child like in it’s innocence, and it has always been a source of inspiration for me.
If I need to talk with my mom about something, significant or not, her perspective will always be from a steadfast Christian point of view. That has helped me remain grounded in my faith. I have wandered off the path more than once, but she and my dad have always been there with love and open arms.
Our family has always been my mom’s first concern. No matter the situation, she is our champion and will defend us to the death. Even when we might not be 100% in the right, she is always there for us and will do anything she can for us.
I have a brother and a sister, and although we don’t talk to each other every day, we all talk to my mom daily, or pretty close to it. Mom is the core of the communication in the family. She always updates us on what the other siblings are doing, how things are going for them, etc.
There is nothing that gives her more joy and satisfaction than talking with, and spending time with, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I have a strong sense of family because of my mom’s love and commitment to ours.
Be a Source of Encouragement to Others
My mom is not one to get up in front of a group of people and talk. In fact, she would probably end up in a little heap on the floor if she was put in the spotlight. But, tell her that someone is ill, or sad, or going through a tough time, and she is the first one to pick up the phone and call them with words of encouragement.
We live in a society that relies more and more on non verbal forms of communication. So much texting and emailing! And Mom is a capable texter herself! People get such a kick out of that…a 91 year old woman texting on her phone. But it has a place in her life, particularly for keeping in touch with the family and extended family.
I will always appreciate and remember my mom calling friends, family, church members, extended family and others who needed a word of encouragement. I would do well to make half the effort that she has put forth for many years.
Food Brings us Together as a Family
My mom is Italian, a child of immigrants. If you are familiar with the Italian heritage, you know that everything revolves around food. That is very true…our family was no exception.
Family time around the dinner table with a tasty home cooked meal was a nightly occurrence in our home.
We were with the Italian side of the family for every birthday…I mean every birthday. Holidays were also a time to everyone to be together and, well, eat. Eating is what we did as an extended family. Things got a bit rowdy at times with those Italian tempers flaring, but above all we ate together and celebrated together.
My grandmother (my mom’s mom) would be happiest when we were ALL together, filling our plates with spaghetti, home made sauce and fresh baked bread. So my mom had solid training in that area!
Although we don’t see the extended family like we used to, those memories are still vivid for me. And my mom has always been such wonderful example of hospitality to our family and friends.
She doesn’t have the ability to cook much anymore. My folks recently sold their home and moved to an Independent Living facility. It’s a wonderful place for them to be in the twilight of their lives. If there is cooking to be done, we as a family do it for her and my dad now.
Be Happy, Grateful and Satisfied With What You Have
Of all the life lessons my mother taught me, the most significant is probably this one. Be happy, grateful and satisfied with what you have.
My folks have never been well off, according to typical US society standards. Their savings account and investments have never had many zeros in them. But you know what? They have always had what they needed and more, enjoyed good health for many years, traveled, built and lived in their dream home for over 45 years, and spent many happy times with family. That, my friend is priceless.
So, when I need to be reminded of the joys of being grateful for what I have….now…today…I need only look to my mom, and my dad, to see the perfect picture and example of what that means. And that has indeed shaped my life and influenced who I am today, these life lessons taught by mom.
Update April, 2022:
Dad went to be with the Lord in the summer of 2018. After 72 years of marriage we thought that Mom might not be able to continue her life without her partner and soul mate.
We would not have been surprised if she followed him shortly after his passing. But Mom decided that she wanted to continue living and enjoying her family: the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
She felt that God wanted to use her in her community and that was her purpose for being there. So she has done just that for the last four years. At 95 years old Mom is the sweetest testimony to living a faithful Christian life.
We are blessed to have her with us, and we’re thankful every single day.
Update November 28, 2023:
Mom is now with the Lord. She leaves us with the amazing legacy of a woman who never waivered in her faith, always trusting in Jesus to guide her each step of the way through life. I miss her terribly but know that I’ll see her again one day.
Thank you, Mom. I love you.
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