I recently had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with Mom who will be 86 years old this month. This doesn’t happen very often as Mom lives in Idaho and I am here in the Crescenta Valley. We had some beautiful moments together that I won’t soon forget. We laughed; we cried. I asked her if it would be okay to write about what she has taught me over the years and her response was, “Absolutely.” So this month I am sharing some pearls of wisdom from Mom.

  1. Education is important. Sometimes that education comes in the form of college. Sometimes it’s in learning a trade. Most of the time it’s through your daily life. You learn from every person you meet and every job you have. Learning how to fix things is a good skill to acquire. Learning a language other than your own benefits many. When you learn something new, pass it forward by teaching others.
  2. How you grow up sets the tone for the person you become but don’t let your past trap you or hold you back. You are the only one in charge of you. Aim to be kind, strong and capable. Find your voice. Trust your intuition. Tell the truth. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Do something regularly that helps other people, animals or the world around you. One of the things that Mom likes to do is crochet blankets then donates them to children in need.
  3. Don’t keep the nice jewelry in a box or save it for special occasions. If you can afford it, wear the pearls and diamonds on your neck while you are young and free from wrinkles. Use your fine china and silverware every day and enjoy it.
  4. Don’t worry too much about a messy house. Visitors come to see you, not your home, and probably won’t even notice anyway.
  5. Save most of your money. It will give you financial security and peace of mind.
  6. Mom thinks Mother’s Day is overrated. The idea of pinning a large orchid corsage to your mother’s chest and taking her out to brunch once a year is no way to honor mothers for all they do. Mothers deserve respect and love every day of the year.
  7. Do things that make you happy. Spend time in nature. Read a book. Choose dessert. Buy art that speaks to you. If you try something out of your comfort zone, you just might have an experience of a lifetime, like white-water rafting. She did; she loved it.
  8. Whether classical music or musical classics like “West Side Story,” “Hair” or “Jesus Christ Superstar,” (her favorites) music has the power to bring joy, stir emotion and keep you inspired. Let it fill you.
  9. Mom says she has given a lot of thought to the ways in which she doesn’t want to die. Most notably, being eaten by a shark or lion. To her, that sounds pretty painful and messy. She has decided that she won’t suffer, although she mused that people often describe family members as having “died peacefully in their sleep.” She says she has imagined herself calling out weakly [insert hand movements and gagging noises here] and dying because no one came. The next morning, her loved one will show up and say, “Aw, she died peacefully in her sleep.” This one cracked me up.

To all the mothers out there, have a wonderful Mother’s Day. May you enjoy the day your special way. I personally have always loved the handmade cards and thrown-together creations from the children. The best gift I ever received was from my son, Ben, who methodically covered his hand with clear packing tape then carefully pulled his hand out. What I was given as a present was a Ben-hand replica to cherish forever. And I do.

Susan Bolan