Today is America's 237th birthday.
Today is my mama's 54th birthday. MY mama.
(If I had access to precious pictures from growing up, I would post them. Alas, I digress)
My mama is an American. Born overseas. And for the first time since birth, she's celebrating her birthday in the land of her birth: Germany.
The more I grow up, the more I realize how many characteristics I have taken on from my mama. In no particular order, these are 5 life lessons I have learned from her:
5. A penny saved is a penny earned. Both of my parents are frugal and wise with their money. But it was my mom who always said, "Even $1.50 will buy you a soda at Target," or something along those perspectives when we were comparing minuscule price comparisons.
4. Silly is hilarious. My father actually happens to be the family clown, always coming back with witty or appropriately sarcastic comments. He can convince just about anyone of the most ridiculous things. (One time he convinced my 6th grade class that licking envelopes kills brain cells. Thus, 30-odd 5th & 6th graders ensued to lick their fingers, then the envelope for about 5 minutes. Except for my sister and me. We knew better.) But my mom has the most silly sayings that are stinkin' hilarious when I find myself saying them! One of my favorites is when we get in the car from being out, and as she turns the key in the engine, she declares, "Home, James!" Or when a car is revving up a steep incline she yells, "Go, squirrels, go!" Oh, and when she's calling someone who is just spacing out, she says, "Earth to Kate...!" Oh, my.
3. Make much use of your hands. Neither of my parents are idlers, and my mama did well to teach her "dainty daughters" how to use their hands to bless others. Many a day we spent around the crafting table making silly things from clay, melting plastics, paint, fabric, and whatever else was the latest craft fad. We baked incessantly on rainy days, taking turns to measure and pour ingredients, then fighting over who got to lick the bowl and beaters. Not only did she teach us to make very practical use of our hands, but she taught us how to do it in a way that blesses others. Sewing. Baking. Cooking. Giving it to others. Life skills, people.
2. Be a problem solver. This one stands out more since I've lived overseas. Rather than give answers to things all the time, my mom (even still) asks questions to get others to the answer. It's amazing how many people in my adult life are not able to think for themselves. It's also amazing how I watch children make the same dumb decisions over and over, simply because they're told not to do something rather than realizing why they should not do it.
1. Compassion is one of the best gifts you can give. My mom is a nurse. She says that since she was a little girl, she's known that she wanted to be a nurse. Having been in the field for longer than I've been alive, she's a darn good nurse. We still call her for opinion on ailments. (When I was mysteriously sick in Africa, she would email a couple times a day asking the doctors what they thought about so-and-so or so-and-so.) She has literally saved lives with her medical knowledge. The day I realized what my mom actually does in her nursing job was the day that I knew she is driven from a heart of compassion. She loves people, and she loves caring for them. The ugly, the smelly, and the disgusting that most of us can't stomach. She sees people for who they are on the inside and loves that above anything else.
Mom, you have set an example that I and my sisters will follow for life. Happiest of birthdays to you!
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