Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Mama Said...

Tomorrow will mark the five year anniversary since I lost my mom suddenly to cancer. While this is always an emotional day for my, this year I have decided to make a compilation of some of the wisdom that she gifted me with when she was here.

I am actually amazed at how often I think, say, or do something that I realize came from her. Even when I wasn’t actively listening to her, I was aware. I feel blessed to be able to share some of her with you.

The world was a better place when she was in it, but I am the woman I am because she was here. I wish I would have listened to mom more when she was alive; but I am surprised to find that some of her best stuff is still floating around in my head...

On Common Sense and Incredulity

“What onion truck do you think I just fell off of?”

Once, my sophomore year in high school, my mom and I were on our way to Lloyd Center on I-5 in Portland. I had skipped a class that day, and of course, mom knew (stupid automated school calling system!). She asked me where I had been during Political Science that day, and of course I lied… badly.

“I dunno.” Great! If I had been in class, wouldn’t I have stated that?

“What do you mean you don’t know?” Mom said.

“Well, I mean, maybe Mr. Beck just missed me during role call.”

“Becky, what onion truck do you think I fell off of?” She said.

No joke, there was a Walla Walla Onion truck on the freeway just ahead of us.

“That one?” I said, pointing.

We both laughed… and I was grounded for the weekend.

“When your potential is obvious, you just look irresponsible when you don’t live up to it.”

I think of this statement often when endeavoring to do things. I think I sometimes have the bad habit of pretending I’m doing all I can, and even convincing myself that I am, but this statement (which came from her the day she got my report card that included a big, fat “F” in biology) comes to me, and I really take a look at my task from a realistic perspective. What is my potential, and how conducive is my effort vs. ability?

On Love and Relationships

We should, out of respect for ourselves, and our future husband or wife, work diligently to guard our heart. Whoever you are with will guard theirs and yours as well; if they don't, they aren't the one.

This lesson came up again and again over the years. It’s funny that mom never really said to wait until I was married to have sex (although it was strongly implied). By “guarding my heart” she explained it as being careful not only how much of yourself you gave physically to another, but also how much you gave in emotional intimacy. It was a “heart-on-your-sleeve” lesson. As I learned (more than once) that what I reveal to others can often be used in hurtful ways later.

“Be careful who you trust with your heart… but when you choose to give your heart to someone, give it to them fully.”

This gem came after my divorce. Mom and I were talking about my marriage, and I told her how I felt that I had not really been open about who I really was with my husband. The truth was that I didn’t really trust him; that was my problem, not his. Trust is a choice. Love is a choice.

Keep your eyes focused upward [on God], and if your future husband is doing the same, and you both keep moving forward, then you will eventually run into one another!”

This was one of the most comforting, and most logical pieces of advice she imparted. It helped me to take my focus off of looking for a mate, and on to making my own life better… She was right, and here I am!

Out of everything mom told me, the one statement that made the most impact was simply:

I love you.”

Foster moms don’t have to love… Not to would have been inconceivable for her.

I loved her too…

~Rebecca Reece