"loved your article & the best friend one especially the picture miss you love you & admire your dreams, ambitions & your heart your mom" This was a comment left on my last blog post. I stared at it for a good 15 minutes trying to figure out if it was a joke. The comment was left under my account. Apparently I had left this last post on my own. What kind of joke as this? A virus? Who really uses the term "your mom" anymore? Then it hit me.
My mother had left me the comment. She had not signed out of my account and she does not often use punctuation on the computer. She just learned that a link does not always mean sausage links and now knows that if you send an email like this: hbrencheratgmaildotcom, it will be sent back.
In the spirit of life lessons, little morsels of knowledge that I tuck away like chocolate coins (almost in a greedy fashion), I have decided to share three of the most simple and valued that I learned from the most important woman in my life: my mother.
Not Lost But Not Found
My mother once asked me why I don't list my neighbor as an emergency contact before her. Well that's a silly question with a outstanding explanation: My mother is nowhere to be found half of the time. She has never owned a cell phone, she doesn't "text", Twitter is a foreign word to her.
Pick your jaw up off the floor, a life can be lived without a tracking device of some sort. Even though I don't plan to drop my cell plan anytime soon I learned from her that sometimes it is important to be not lost but not found. Sometimes we should leave the cell phone home or at least leave it turned off. We should venture off on our own, sit with our own thoughts, detach from that constant connection we have with other people. I am convinced that there is greatness to this idea, anyone who meets my mother will see that she is more connected to the people and passions of her life than a blogger with 1,500 Facebook friends, an iPhone and a GPS.
Eye Contact Before Eyelash Glue
I grew up in the world of competitive dancing and yes I can fully recall mothers similar to those on "Toddlers and Tiaras." My mother (sorry if you didn't know this before mom) was never exactly a "dance mom". The term carries a lot of weight. A dance mom knows the perfect amount of blush, the secret to applying eye lash glue. A dance mom is ready for the quickest of changes and can jam a bobby pin into a bun harder than anyone.
I wanted my mom to be like these other mothers at time. However, I learned on my own to apply eye lashes and secure a head piece, maybe only because my mother was teaching me something larger. My mother was busy teaching me independence but more than that: manners.
She was teaching me how to say "thank you" for a dance award, how to make eye contact with my peers, how to act graciously and poised even when I didn't get the gold. These lessons stick out a lot more than the materialism of the dance world and where I have not been able to use my tap skills and amazing ability to braid my hair in 10 seconds, I have been able to use the manners she taught me in almost every interaction.
When a Hug is Out of Arms Reach, Reach Out with Words
I kid you not, every thing that my mother writes to me drives me to tears. I don't know if it is the love behind them or the beauty of their placement, whatever the combination they mean the most to me.
People will be far away from us at times, either abroad or living apart, but that doesn't mean that we cannot use the most precious thing we have: words. Write Letters. Compose Notes. Send Emails. Express Gratitude. Keep connections alive with people through heartfelt expression and say "I love you" always and often.
Before May 31, 1988 I carried you inside my heart. We would walk, talk, pray and sing even then.
When I held you my heart would melt but then grow strong to teach, protect and guide you.
As a little girl you were always so independent, set apart--playing by yourself, creating elaborate projects with your dolls, crayons, scissors and paper. And us? We were walking, talking, laughing, shopping and singing.
Then came your writing: stories, newspapers, thoughts beyond your years.
Soon you were picking out your own "outfits," choosing your own friends, acting, dancing, making books. You were always embracing new friends, new concepts and new confidence.
We could always talk, shop, laugh, walk and sing.
Along game high school years and fears. Your neighborhood news articles advanced to "dramatic poems" and family books. Joining clubs, yearbooks, Kids for Kids and Heart bracelets. Your heart developed into "reaching out" and touching others. Helping, encouraging, and saving starving children.
We were driving, singing, talking, shopping and laughing.
Now you are here- learning more ways to grow your heart, New York, excelling in your academics, still writing, creating, always giving. Bravo my daughter- how special you are.
I look at my little girl and my own heart is so proud and full of love. Just like 20 years ago. I will always encourage and support you in all ways.
And still we laugh, sing, shop, talk and pray.