I owe everything to my parents. Today I thought I would share some of the best advice my mom and dad have ever given me.
Although I only knew my mother for 13 years, she taught me a lot in her short time on earth. Some of it I learned first hand and other things I realized after she was gone. My mom had a big spirit and a huge heart. Her laughter and smile were contagious, making it no surprise that everyone wanted to be around her. Although she never had a chance to meet my children, I know a part of her is still here. And a part of her lives on in them.
Here are some of the things my mother taught me:
Love your life…every second of it.
My mother had a hard past. To this day I still don’t know how she survived certain hardships. She sheltered us from some of the pain she felt during her life, but I know some days were a battle for her. Yet she never gave up. She loved her life even on the worst days. My mother taught me to be grateful for each new day because life is a gift.
It’s none of your business what other people think of you.
Oh, how I wish I had the confidence my mother had! She could enter any room and instantly get to know everyone. Her strong sense of identity and certainty always amazed me. (Sometimes I try to channel my mom’s strength when I need courage!). While I may never be as fearless as my mom, she taught me not to put so much stock into what other people think. Rather, you should value your own opinion and act in a way that makes YOU proud. And that includes how you behave, what you wear, and what you believe in.
Take it one step at a time and find strength in your faith.
Getting overwhelmed can happen instantly. And once you’re in it, you’re in it. My mother liked to remind me that when you are lost in a problem or worried about an outcome, just focus on each day. One day at a time and one step at a time. My mom had a strong sense of faith and was very spiritual. She spoke often about God and reminded me that there is something so much greater and stronger than all of us. And when I’m lost or afraid I can count on my inner strength to carry me through even the darkest times.
My dad has said some pretty amazing things to me over the course of my life. While many people tell me I remind them of my mother, I think my personality more closely matches my dad. We share the same ideas and tend to rely on reason and on our personal interpretations for things. I’m sure I am the way that I am today because of my dad.
What my father has taught me (so far):
Family comes first (always).
My dad has spent my whole life working to provide for his family. He raised me as a single parent from the time I was 10. He was the person getting us ready for school in the morning, packing our lunches (always extra jelly on my sandwich + the perfect amount of peanut butter). He attended every one of my track meets, softball games, and took me to every horseback riding lesson. And then he’d make us all dinner and get us into bed only to stay up until 2 or 3 AM doing office work. And he never, ever complained. I couldn’t imagine raising three kids on my own and working full time. And still to this day, I am absolutely positive that my father’s number one priority is his family. His unconditional love and support is constant.
Trust in yourself.
My father is incredibly insightful. He’s deeply thoughtful and will always search for answers to things. I’ve learned from him to ask questions and to try not to take everything at face value. My instants are extremely valuable and I should trust my own intuition.
You can slow your pace, just don’t stop [running].
This is what my dad used to tell me when we would run together. At the time I was a grumpy teenager who was guilt-ed into running. My dad would never let me stop running until we reached the end. At the time running was NOT easy for me. But my father would remind me that it was okay to slow down. “Take your time, slow down, but don’t give up,” he’d tell me. I’m sure he didn’t think I would take his pep talk out of context, but it has always stuck with me. It’s a reminder that I don’t always have to push myself so hard. That it’s okay to slow down, but don’t give up.
Both of my parents were firm believers that everything happens for a reason. What we may not understand right now will reveal itself one day. This has always been difficult for me to grasp. I try mightily to believe that there is a plan for everything, but it’s impossible to accept this in times of pain, sadness, or loss. But maybe the “reason” is not for me – or anyone – to understand. It’s more about the realization that sometimes life doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it’s just really hard. But life still goes on and we must take it one day at a time.
Lots and lots of love to my parents. xo