This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and for the first time since I left home I’m a bit more than a $40 train ride away from brunch with my mom.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons from her, most of which I learned the hard way. My mom taught me it’s always worth the money to buy a good quality can opener, but okay to buy whatever’s cheaper of pretty much everything else (I went through five can openers in two years when I didn’t listen to that advice). She instilled the value of being thrifty with your clothes, because once it’s been through the wash once it’s all the same anyways. She showed me that it doesn’t matter what you do for a living or how much you earn, as long as you make an honest wage and try to save a little every payday.
She taught me even things that seemingly don’t matter, like that I should take my coffee with milk and not cream —something I still do—and things that really do matter, like that you’re always stronger for admitting how you feel. She showed me the value of sitting down around the dinner table as a family, and the value of calling your parents as often as you can.
When I told her I got a job, she promptly burst into happy tears. I think it was as gratifying a moment for her as it was me, if not more so. After all, she edited my papers, listened to me complain about my professors, and encouraged me after every email telling me the position had been filled.
When I accepted the job, she immediately began helping me plan my move, tears forgotten and focused on making this transition as smooth as possible. When I decided I was going to drive rather than fly she volunteered to come with me—giving up five days to sit in a car with her (occasionally cranky) daughter. When it became clear I had more stuff than was going to fit in my car, she helped me pack, unpack, and repack my trunk. She kept me in snacks, music and conversation along the way. It would have been a very long drive without her.
I occasionally lose patience, I’ll admit. It’s an ongoing struggle to teach her how to use Instagram, her social media of choice, and I still have to bite my tongue every time she says “text” when she means “email.” But she of all people has taught me that it’s okay to make mistakes—and that’s a lesson I’ll be making plenty of use of, I’m sure.