The other day, Amelia posted a list of her life experiences that were empowering and pretty epic. So epic that I began to get concerned that, maybe, I haven’t done enough with my life. I was able to leave my comfortable suburban Michigan existence surrounded by everyone I know, to go to college in New York where I knew no one. But outside of that, I couldn’t come up with the same confident list of experiences, and it kind of started to freak me out. I am also in the midst of finals and I think my emotional state is a little more fragile than usual, allowing me to panic over the topic for a while. Soon enough I came around and realized that I am only 21 and not even out of college yet [And not an old fart like me, huh? ;) -- Editor Amelia], I still have a whole lot of life to experience.
Somehow that is a thought that doesn’t scare me. I know that I am as ready and mentally prepared as I can be for whatever events I happen upon, or smack me in the face. This is a confidence I owe to my mother. Even though I haven’t gone through too much, I have been a constant audience to the ups and downs of my mom’s life. It may have been secondhand, but watching the way she has handled herself has given me an excellent course for the future. So when I get my chance to handle life’s experiences gracefully, I will have my mom to thank. These are the five things that my mother has taught, and in turn the ways my mom has empowered, me for the future.
- How To Be A Best Friend: My mom is the type of woman who comes back from the hair salon or the gym with the life story of a total stranger. There is something about her peaceful demeanor and honest interest in others that causes people to tell her everything. And my mom listens, even if your story is totally uninteresting or bizarre. She listens and absorbs in a way where she will ask you about a week-old issue that you forgot about days ago. She learns the wants and needs of an individual so quickly and then can start acting on them almost immediately. This amazing amount of care and concern makes her best friends extremely lucky. I am fortunate enough to be one of them. My mom is more than the person I go to for money and memories. She is who I go to with almost any issue or celebration, because she understands me so well that I almost never leave her presence disappointed. She has memorized my worries and reactions; she knows exactly when I need to cry, need advice, or just need to be told what I want to hear. This is something she can do not only with me but also with family, friends, and even those over-sharing strangers. I have nowhere near the same level of comfort-providing ability with people, but she inspires me to do keep improving at this. My mom has taught me how to help people in exactly the way they want to be helped. This is a gift that has brought extraordinary people into my life and keeps them there.
- That Nothing Should Stop You From Getting What You Want: One of the favorite stories I like to tell about my mom is the path she took to becoming a doctor. It was an unconventional journey for her that usually leaves listeners impressed. When my mother first went to college it was to become a journalist, much like I’m doing now. After her first year of school she switched to nursing because of the job guarantee. As a nurse she discovered her passion for medicine and caring for others. My mom became a nurse right after college, staying one for seven years. Eventually she got the itch to do more and with my father’s encouragement she decided to work toward become a doctor. She wrote letters to med schools, took night classes, and dealt with people’s doubts, all while still working a full-time job. She let none of this stand in the way of what she wanted. She worked her way through med school and started a family, having me in her third year of residency. Today she is a radiologist, was just voted one of the best doctors in her hospital, and has a family she is proud of. None of that would be possible if she had let outside factors affect what she wanted. While I am only a small part of this story, it is one that has taught me that with a stellar mix of strength and confidence I can get what I want. I will have to fight and sacrifice, but essentially I can do anything.
- How To Be An Independent Woman: For the better part of my life that I can remember, my mom has been a single lady. My parents divorced when I was 9 and I lived with my mom most of the time afterward. This situation made my mom a different kind of role model. She not only taught me the magical ways of the mother, but the kick-butt ways of being an independent woman as well. The lessons of the latter included how to deal with everything from finances to heartbreak. The most essential thing I gained was that the idea of doing things alone should not be look down upon or feared. Just because you don’t have a boyfriend or husband doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy traveling the world or dining out. Not having the support of a second income doesn’t mean you can’t have the house of your dreams or the bank account you planned for. Watching my mom live life without a significant other taught me that being single isn’t something to be afraid of, but embraced. Being an independent women means doing what you want without hesitation, having fabulous friendships, and gaining an amazing sense of strength.
- How To Give: My mom is one of the most generous people I know. She isn’t always showering me with money or expensive gifts, but I am constantly getting lots of love. I still receive care packages full of my favorite sweets and pictures of cats. I get text messages of things that make her think of me. And every time I come home my bed is made and there is a vase of fresh flowers on the table beside it. It is gestures like these that have taught me the joy of giving. By experiencing the happiness my mother has created in me, I know that I can just as easily create it for someone else. That is happiness all on its own. She has taught me that to give sincerely and effectively isn’t buying the most expensive thing you can afford. It means understanding a person and knowing what you can offer them that will improve their lives. My mom has made me addicted to giving, whether it be love, favors, or gifts, because it comes along with such a light and pleasant feeling. And you usually do end up getting something in return.
- How To Create Respect: If my mom does something that usually deserves a thank-you card in response, you better send one! My mother has taught me that it is little actions like this that create respect. For her, the key to respect is all about acknowledging others, and in return you will seem pretty awesome. This means sending thank-you cards, making get-better phone calls, holding doors, helping others, and a host of other small but meaningful things. All of these mini-manners put together are going to create a general aura where most people you spend time with are going to respect you. But respect is not always doing something for others; it also being able to say no. You can’t lie around being others people’s doormat, because that won’t form a relationship of respect but one of abuse. When you know something is wrong or unfair to you, then this is the time to put manners aside and stand up for yourself.
Basically, my mom has been amazing in every aspect of life I have watched her experience. She has been so successful that I find myself trying to create slightly different version of her in myself everyday. I have been raised surrounded by her love, compassion, and concern. She has shaped a large part of the person I am today, and it will be an influence that continues throughout my life. I know my mother is proud of me, but this is my way of saying “Mom I am proud of you!”
I am sure all you have some awesome moms. In what ways have they empowered you?