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Monday, 2 December 2013

Things my mother taught me- A celebration of my mom

Last night my mom passed away.  I would like to take a moment to celebrate and remember the woman she was.

Things my mother taught me

Ask forgiveness
When I was little I was a real challenge of a child. I didn't mean to be bad, but I frustrated the patience out of my parents, teachers, coaches and babysitters alike.
Sometimes, if it was my mom who finally lost her temper with me that day, I was subject that night to a lesson my mother likely never knew she was teaching me.

After I had gone to bed, when the house was dark, my mom would tip toe into my bedroom. She would whisper me awake. Then she would ask me to forgive her for her temper. Of course I forgave her, she was my mom and forgiveness was given one second after it happened.  But by the asking my mom taught me that everyone should be treated with kindness, even if I didn't deserve it. My mom taught me that you're never too old, too smart or too important (she was all those things to me) to seek forgiveness.

Stand up for what is right, even if you're standing alone.
By example, this is a lesson my parents taught us kids every day. And I learned it easily.  However, as a teen I tired desperately to unlearn it. It was so embarrassing when I was a teenager to have my mom stand up to someone who stole a parking space. Or to a store manager not honoring their policies. Or to one of my friends if they treated me poorly.
At the time I wished she would just accept that things aren't perfect. Just put her head down and quietly accept what was going on.
But by standing up for what was right, even against my loud whispers of "Mom! Please!!"  she taught me about equality. It taught me that just because someone has a more expensive car does not make the parking spot theirs. That just because someone was higher up than me on the corporate ladder did not make it okay for them to be dishonest, sneaky, or hurtful.
It also taught me to hold myself to the same high standard as my mom. A few times, in the middle of doing something, my moms face would flash in my mind and I knew that if my mom saw me right then she would call me out.

Do the best you can with what you have
When I was just a little thing my dad went back to university for some additional classes.  Some of his classes ran past our bedtimes.  Being a single car family at the time it meant my mom had to bundle all three of us kids up, pack us in the car and drive (for what seemed like forever to me as a kid) to pick up my dad when his class was out.
This was an ideal situation for no one.
But shining out of these less than ideal car trips comes the memory of my mom, singing to us.  During these car rides we were free to request any song my mom knew, as many times as we wanted to hear it.  She would sing Jingle Bells, or Wheels on the Bus, or I'm a Little Teapot.

If things had worked out "ideally" in this situation and we had had two cars, or the class wasn't so late, or my parents could have found a sitter to stay at home with us I would not have this memory to cherish and hold dear.

My mother taught me to lift up your spirits and do the best you can with what you have- that's how joy happens.

Be joyful
My mom had this laugh. A laugh that carried and was even more identifiable at first listen than her voice. It was the kind of laugh that made other people take notice, and laugh too.

Every time I think of my mom laughing it makes me want to be certain that I laugh outwardly and openly as often as possible.  Because hearing someone laugh spreads joy.

The memory of my mom laughing is so dear to me that I actively try to do everything I can to be sure my kids can hear my laugh.  That they know my laugh. The active pursuit of joyfulness and laughter is something I could never thank my mom enough for.

Have strength and dignity
This was a lesson taught by example.  Never did anyone fight so many battles so hard with such strength of character and dignity. My mom had developed a skill for being reflective. Sometimes, I would call her when I was upset to vent a little and she would draw my attention to someone else's point of view.  She acknowledged that it was fine if I felt angry but I was discouraged from acting in anger or bitterness or jealousy.

My mom with Walter (3 years) and Audrey (15 days)

Please, gentle readers take a moment if you can and share this post.  Lets not let my mom, or her lessons, be forgotten.


  1. hey Rylan prayes for you and the family she sounds just like my mom Blessings

    Tim Reck

  2. Sorry for your loss ..My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

  3. A beautiful tribute to an amazing woman. I have so many wonderful memories of your Mom and her fantastic parties, she was such a big part of my childhood. Sending so much love to you, your Dad and sisters today Ry. Love lives on in the legacy. Hugs, Claire xoxo

  4. Hi Rylan,

    I found your tribute to your mom incredibly touching. She would be so proud! She obviously succeeded in the most important job in life-her 'job' as a mom. She would also win gold as far as friendships are concerned.

    I couldn't agree more about her laugh. I haven't seen her in years but I will never forget it! I can hear it! I can even see it! It was impossible not to laugh with her when you heard her :)

    I am so sorry for your loss. There will be a gaping hole but the memories and the "things my mother taught me" will keep her memory alive!

    All of our thoughts are with you!

    Sally Chalifour

  5. What beautiful words, my heart goes out to you and your family, I met you and your sistersmany years ago through your Aunt Denise. Big hugs