... About a LOT of things. That dawns on me more and more as each day of my life unfolds.
For instance, Mom always said that people need to learn the difference between friends and acquaintances. It took me a while, but that one sunk in when I was in high school. I had a habit of claiming almost anyone I met as a friend. Whenever some random person ended up disappointing me, Mom would repeat herself about friends vs acquaintances. I'm glad because the friends I have happen to be very few but very true.
Another of Mom's lessons was to be kind to everyone because you don't know what anyone is going through. This is proved out by a really deep friendship I have now. The friend and I are so opposite on the surface that I wasn't sure about her at first. Now that we are friends, I've learned that, around the time we first met, she was going through one of the darkest times in her life and was almost to the point of giving up. I was feeling pretty worthless myself, thanks to the abusive relationship I was in. The funny thing is, what brought my friend and I together was sharing laughter and not misery. I didn't even realize she was unhappy until later on.
Even the broken relationship of my marriage is helped by Mom's advice. I will never be able to be with that man again, but I don't hate him. He's not a bad person, he just has things to deal with that make him the way he is.
Mom also told me that doing wrong does not go unpaid. I'd get this talk from her when I was sure that someone had treated me wrong. Mom wouldn't agree or disagree, she'd just tell me that I was learning from my own experience how NOT to treat people. She'd say that no one gets away with hurting others - not in the long run. At the time, I thought she was talking about how bad people would be judged by God in the end of it all. What I learned later on in life is that evil, cruel or just "bad" people are re-paid in life - by the life they live. Think about it: people who are truly "bad" cannot be truly happy. Happiness does not breed anything bad.
One of the strangest things my mother said to me a long time ago (and I have to paraphrase and piece this together the best my bad memory will allow me!) happened after she went on a little day cruise during a vacation. At the time, I was making pretty good money, but Mom, my sister and I were also raising the four kids. During this vacation that Mom and I were on, I was stressing the whole money thing. Our vacation budget was so tight that I was scared to do anything not planned. Well, mom wanted to go on a day cruise. No, let me stop fronting and say this: Mom WENT on a day cruise because that's what she wanted to do. Later on, when I was being all passive-aggressive, letting her know how she had strained the wallet, she gave me a talking to. (Remember now, I am a grown-ass woman at the time!) She told me that it's important to be careful with money but not to the point of being miserly. No matter how broke you are, you have to enjoy life. The important thing, in her opinion: not to get attached to either poverty or wealth.
I am glad that I listened to my mother. Because of the things she taught me, I have lived well, made great friends, survived really horrible things, and been able to (mostly) smile through it all.
I miss my mother every day.
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