5 life lessons I Learned from my mama

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With it being Mother’s Day on Sunday I wanted to share some of the most important life-lessons I’ve learned from my mom. She is such an inspiration in every way. When I think of who I want to be like my mom is the first person who comes to mind.  

1. Be a bit of a Polyanna -

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The book Pollyanna was originally written by Eleanor H. Porter in 1913 and it’s the story of the title character Pollyanna Whittier, a young orphan who adopts a philosophy of playing a game called, “The Glad Game” which she learned from her father. The idea was to find something to be thankful for or glad about in any situation no matter how bad it might look. Eventually Pollyanna inspires many people to also “play the game”. 

Pollyanna’s optimism is eventually put to the test when she is hit by a car and loses the use of her legs. For the first time, she can’t find anything to be glad about. When this happens the people throughout the community who’s lives Pollyanna has touched begin to reach out and let her know how much her outlook has helped them. She finally decides that she can still be glad that she has had the use of her legs. This positive thinking leads to the ending in which she goes to a hospital to learn to walk again, and has a much greater appreciation for the use of her legs than she had before the accident. 

My mom has always embodied this beautiful spirit of looking at the best in things. Last year though, her optimistic outlook was really put to the test in a very Pollyannaistic way. After a car accident in which she almost died and will probably never fully recover from, her positivity was unscathed. I don’t ever remember a moment throughout the whole ordeal that she wasn’t just grateful to be alive and focused on the good she could find. Now, almost a year later, she even jokes about her beautiful new “thalf”, a term we all lovingly coined after her surgery to remove a large amount of tissue and skin from her thigh to save her calf from having to be amputated. 

Seeing my mom in the hospital going through the incredible pain and suffering she endured in her accident, and seeing her ability to remain positive has been truly inspiring. She has always been the epitome of someone who see the glass half full and I’m so incredibly grateful for that example in my life. I could go on and on about countless other scenarios, but this is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my mom that has always served me incredibly well (at least when I’ve practiced it). 

2. Forgive - 

I honestly don’t know anyone who my mom has ever held a grudge against, and that’s saying a lot considering the ordeals she went through being married to my dad. My mom is one of the most forgiving and loving people I have ever met. 

I think back to the time shortly after my parents divorce, a time that I know was incredibly difficult for my mom, and how kind she was to my dad. She definitely didn’t have to be and anyone would have understood her being vengeful and filled with hate, but over and over again she chose love and forgiveness and kindness. Sure, there were moments where I know she wanted to kill him (not literally), but her anger in those moments never lasted long and always gave way to a level of forgiveness that is truly remarkable. 

3. Create a loving home - 

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My mom is a rockstar at making people feel welcome! Growing up our house was always the place everyone wanted to be. My siblings and I are very blessed for the warmth and love and acceptance that our home brought to us and so many of our friends. In fact, our mom was often times like a second mom to so many kids and many of our friends still refer to her as ‘Mama Mast’. To see the incredible outpouring of love and support from so many people during her accident last year was a true testament to the love and kindness she’s shown to so many over the years. 

I still remember how growing up her and my dad would sit down with us and create family mission statements. They’d talk to us about how we want our home to feel and how we want our friends to feel when they’d come over. They were so committed to loving and accepting people and I feel so privileged and blessed to have that wonderful example - one that I try my best to emulate now with my own kids. 

4. Give and serve - 

My mom is one of the most selfless and humble people I know. She continually puts the needs of all 5 of us children ahead of her own. I honestly don’t know how she does it because I only have 3 and I feel like I struggle. 

I have fond memories of my mom being a ‘room parent’ in our classes, always supporting all of our sports and activities and creating games and art projects to keep us entertained for hours. 

Even in the midst of the excruciating pain she was in during her accident, I sobbed as my step-dad told me how she kept telling him how she has to live because her kids don’t have their dad, as they waited for medical services to arrive on the scene. 

She is always thinking of others and is willing to give and serve in any way she is needed at any moment. 

5. Have a little fun - 

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My mom has never shied away from having a good time, but she never wants to be the center of attention either. People just LOVE being around her. She has this amazing aura that is infectious and the most fun times in my life are usually always with my mom. She is the hostess with the mostest and her parties are always the best! She’s full of energy and she’s the person everyone calls when they need help planning a party or hosting a wedding. She is always one of the first people on the dance floor, and her and I have spent many nights (during our wedding business years) dancin’ it up with the DJ until the wee hours of the morning. 

One of my favorite stories was after one of the first weddings we did together on her property. We made sure to include in our contract that the music needed to be down around 10 pm because of noise ordinances. So, as the wedding winded down my mom and I were just getting started dancing the night away. We’d had a few too many glasses of wine by that point and the DJ was having a blast serving us up song after song to dance to our hearts content. About an hour later my step-dad came out to tell the wedding party that they needed to turn off the music only to find my mom and I and the DJ were the only people left! 

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I love that my mom is always able to have a little fun! I think of how many people are always caught up in their misery and routine and can’t just let go and live and little and I’m so thankful for her for teaching me that life is meant to be enjoyed!   

In short, my mom is truly a remarkable human, and I'm one lucky daughter to get to call her my mom! I feel especially grateful this year to get to celebrate her after coming so close to losing her last year. Thank you mom for being so amazing!