The gift that keeps giving: reflections on Mother’s Day

I’ve been blessed in my life with two parents with an abundance of wisdom, advice and patience. Sure I may not have appreciated it as much when I was younger (specifically a teenager), but I always understood how lucky I was.

In honor of Mother’s Day I wanted to share some of the advice I’ve received from my mother.

I should point out my mother is a science teacher as well as a superhero so advice is something she is used to giving. I mean she teaches junior high students daily and that’s a superhero in my book.

She taught me to work hard

My mom has been a shining example of working hard. She has shown me that whether it is school or sports or work in general that putting in time and effort will pay off.

She taught me how to laugh

My mother has an amazing sense of humor. She continues to help me laugh through situations and reminds me to not take myself too seriously.

She taught me to be optimistic

She is always there to point out the positive in every situation. She showed me that being positive is infectious and spreads to others.

She taught me how to treat others

I remember at a young age my mother would show me how to treat others – my friends, my friends’ parents, families, strangers, waiters and others. I specifically remember her reminding me when I was younger to thank the parents of my friends whenever I was invited anywhere. She taught me to treat others how I wanted to be treated.

She taught me it’s okay to say f**k it. 

I can be a worrier. I get that from her. But she also gave me the ability to  let a stressful situation go. In fact if she knew I told others she said that it’s okay to say f**k it she would probably say, “Gads.” Have I mentioned how great my mother is?

She taught me it’s okay not to be okay 

She taught me that it’s okay to cry. She taught me it’s okay to be upset about something. She taught me that it’s okay to fail and that it really is all about what you do after you fail.

She taught me not to take anything or anyone  for granted

My mother lost both of her parents when she was young. I know on days like today she misses her parents more than words could describe. She has reminded me not to take what I have for granted and because of that I fully understand and appreciate everything I have.

She teaches me every day to enjoy life

She showed me to appreciate what I have and who I have to share it with. She has taught me to take chances and not take myself too seriously. She has taught me to help others when I can and to ask for help when I need it. She showed me to work hard but to be humble. She showed me all I have to be grateful for and how to enjoy it.

I am what my mother made me and for that I am so thankful for my mom today and every single day. I think this quote from Abraham Lincoln is fitting:

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” – Abraham Lincoln

I want to give a special shout out to all the mothers out there. You’re all superheroes in my book. What about you? Did your mother or someone else in your life teach you some kind of lesson you still remember today? What was it?

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Life advisors at 18?

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When did High School seniors become miniature Buddhas covered with hair?  Are they normal students during the day and superheros at night?

Or, maybe is it the fact they are simply teenagers who look toward their futures with optimism, hope and refreshing determination.

I was typing in forms we got from the high school for the education page of the newspaper and some of them said things like “I love ____ because he’s a stud” or “my favorite band is One Direction, they’re so cute,” etc. but  there were also some really insightful answers. My favorite six:

6.) Don’t wait until the last minute to decide what to do. Also, don’t let it stress you out.

5.) Try different things to find out what you enjoy doing.

4.) It’s never too early (or late) to start preparing and planning for your career

3.) Explore your options. Ask questions and at least try the thing you have doubts about because you’ll never know if you will change your mind.

2.) Once you find your knack, learn as much as you can about it.

1.) Try everything. Explore. You aren’t going to find what you love to do unless you experience different things.

Well played, you wisdom-filled 18-year-olds. If this can’t brighten your day and pull you out of the Monday blues, I don’t know what can.

“A generation of kids choosing love over a desk. put those hours in and look at what you get.” 

Ten moments in life that should come with a big, flashing billboard sign

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10 moments in life that should come with a big, flashing billboard sign.

10.) Santa Clause doesn’t exist. Okay, so I didn’t have a scaring Santa story. When I asked my mom one year if Santa was real she just told me the truth. However, some children don’t find out so easily…or as soon as they should.

9.) You’re favorite pet Tiger won’t live forever. If you have owned a pet or seen/read Marley & me you know how heart breaking the death of a pet is.

8.) You will have a lot of awkward, embarrassing first dates. They can be painful at times, but every so often someone can bring the color in your cheeks down from a bright red to a dull pink.

7.) You’re black focus isn’t invisible when going 10 mph over the speed limit.

6.) The thrill of living will not be gone after High School. John Cougar Mellencamp is misleading- even with his catchy tunes.

5.) Concert tickets are worth the splurge. Memories made with friends at a weekend of Dave Matthews is worth it.

6.) Meals are not worth the splurge. Okay, yeah it’s awesome to try the trendy new place where you can dress like a hipster and watch people cook your food, but at the end of the night you just ate/drank $50 of sushi/dessert/wine that could be in your gas tank.

5.) The 1 a.m. text to “watch” the new pensive Bradley Cooper movie “Words” really is a booty call. You might be trying to convince yourself he really is interested to hear your take on the flick. It’s a lie.

4.) You’ll lose friends. You’ll graduate, move and change. There will be some friends you don’t mind losing contact with and some you will mind. That friend who used to know everything about you will now be someone you simply have nice memories with.

3.)  You’ll find out your parents and brother are right. My parents are wise –sometimes I let them know that, sometimes I don’t. I find I seek advice from them a lot more than I did when I was younger and nothing can turn a bad day around faster than a reality check from my brother.

2.) Post-graduation is extremely difficult. You’ll find you have to make an extreme effort to visit the friends who used to live in the same city. You’ll find yourself spending Thursday watching Parks and Recreation instead of drinking $3 beverages at the local bar. Enjoy it, be irresponsible and after you graduate visit the campus as much as your wallet and schedule allow.

1.) You’re doing fine. Okay so this isn’t a specific moment – and fine, you’re not working for Vogue or married to David Beckham with 6 soccer-playing babies – but you’re doing a damn good job living. As creatures of habit, we’re constantly critical of ourselves. Breathe. Your friends and family will do anything for you. They will make you laugh until you cry, curse at the jackass who stood you up, they’ll be honest and together you will grow up.

Real World Optimism

A lot has happened throughout the past year.  Including the college graduation milestone.  I logged into my wordpress account today for the first time in a few weeks and took a look at the paragraph under my blog domain name.

It reads: “Entering the final lap in my college career before taking a huge (but chic) stride into the unknown.”

I have been applying for jobs and internships vigorously since January. I have also been stressing out about having to finish my last two college credits during the summer, and I now only have three days left of class.  Although what will come in the future is still unknown, things are starting to fall into place. My mother told me that things will work out, and I’m beginning to watch that happen.

Three weeks ago I got offered an internship in Pennsylvania for a newspaper and two weeks ago I accepted the position.  No, I’ve never been to Pennsylvania. No, I’ve never lived out of state for an extended amount of time. No, I’ve never lived ten hours from the place that I have called home for the past 22 (almost 23) years of my life.

I will not, I repeat, I will not let that hold me back.  I plan to move to Pennsylvania in a week and a half and I plan to start working in two weeks. I plan to make that huge (but chic) step into the unknown and I plan to do so with the fresh optimism that only a recent college grad could have.