Updated: Mar 5, 2021
My kids gave me Story Worth for Mother's Day last year. If you don't know, Story Worth is a type of book that you write online. There are prompts - one per week - that delve into your memories. At the end of the year, they will send me a book with all of my stories published, along with any photos I upload. I was excited to get this gift, but lately, I've not written too much, so I have a lot to catch up on.
I recently finished a story prompt that asked what I admired most about my mother. It unleashed a ton of memories and much pride. What I most admired was her ability to be a fierce competitor, both on and off the sports field. She was competitive about just about everything. If we played a game, she played to win!
But after I finished writing this story, I realized that there were other things I admired, and of course, a few things that frustrated me as well. Let's face it - who hasn't been frustrated by a parent?
I think this comes to us all in different ways and at different times in our lives. As a preteen, and later in the teen years, we thought of our parents as stodgy, old-fashioned, and behind the times. They didn't know anything, did they? Slowly, as we grow up and experience more of life, we realize that they did know quite a bit. And don't we feel foolish? Yet, we do have different experiences and learning opportunities from our parents, so perhaps we do, occasionally, know something they don't know. If Mama hasn't experienced it, how can Mama know best?
With my Mom, I was grateful to be able to spend the last nine months of her life with her. She wasn't in the best of health, but we went out 2-3 times a week, just to have lunch or shop, or some other adventure. I probably saw her nearly every day during that time. My frustration came with trying to teach an old dog new tricks. Mom was pretty set in her ways and felt she was too old to change. After all, as she would say, "I've made it this far." The trouble with that was, that yes, she had made it this far, but she wasn't living her best life or enjoying life as she could have been. She couldn't do some of the things that she loved anymore - though she often talked about "when" she would be able to again. She made tremendous efforts to go out with me and I treasure our time together, but it wasn't easy for her, and sometimes it was downright painful.
So, when I think of my mom, I feel regret for not pushing more. I would have loved for her to try more natural remedies or gotten rid of the horribly toxic cleaners and personal products in her cabinets. (Mom was a bargain shopper, so she bought a lot of discount products and would never think of just throwing them out for something "cleaner.") Perhaps with some small changes, we could have fought a bit longer.
I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to educate myself. College, grad school, and lots of personal development along the way has helped me grow and change - for the better, I think. I don't believe that an old dog can't learn new tricks. My mantra is to keep an open mind and keep growing and learning. What happens if you stop? You get stagnate - and then old. I am 58 years young and I don't ever intend to be "old."
So now, I also learn from my daughter because Mama doesn't always know best. She's been an inspiration to me and helped me learn more about healthy eating and daily movement. I still have a few things to teach her, but it isn't a competition. Oh sure, I've definitely inherited my mom's competitive nature, but I think I will just compete with myself, trying to be the best person I can be.