Mother’s Lessons Can Last a Lifetime

Mother’s Lessons Can Last a Lifetime

From Chicken Soup for Every Mom's Soul

Mother’s Lessons Can Last a Lifetime

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.

Jewish Proverb

I have learned many things from my mother.

I learned where to go for comfort and sustenance as first I suckled at her breast, later climbed into her lap and now sit across the table from her with a cup of coffee.

I learned not to run into the road, not to touch the stove, not to run with scissors in my hand, never to use a BB gun lest I put my eye out, and that young ladies don’t make impolite noises in public.

I learned that “please” and “thank you” are the most important words in the language, to respect my elders, to look a person in the eye when I speak, to sit with my knees together and keep my skirt down, and that a body must be bathed on Saturday night whether it needs it or not.

I learned to fry chicken, bake a cake, make sun tea, flip pancakes, can vegetables and wash dishes—by hand. I learned that “casserole” and “crock pot” are the most important words in kitchen language if you have hopes of pursuing any interests in life away from the stove.

Growing up on a farm, I also learned how to reach under the hens to gather eggs, how to avoid the rooster and the goose, how to pull ticks out of dogs, where to find a nest of baby bunnies in the spring, how to call to the bobwhite down by the creek, and to stay away from sows and their litters.

From my mother I also learned to look for the subtle colors of the flowers in her garden, to listen to the mockingbird’s song in the morning, to enjoy the fragrance of the lilac, to spot the rainbow-rimmed moon and to play with the ladybug.

I learned, at her suggestion, that when I wasn’t able to tell her the things that troubled me, I could write them to her, pouring out my heart on the sheets of a Big Chief writing tablet.

I learned that even though I sometimes hated her in adolescent rage, she always loved me. I learned that she didn’t always have the right answer, but she always had the right intention. I learned that, even though the crop didn’t do well or the hay barn burned down or the cows got into the neighbor’s corn field, you take care of things and go on.

My mother is sixty-seven now. She recently was diagnosed with cancer, underwent surgery and is receiving chemotherapy treatments.

And this is what I’m still learning from her: You can’t always choose what experiences you’ll face in life, but you can choose how you’ll face them. That faith is stronger than fear, that the love of family and friends is powerful, that each day is a gift and that the fortunate daughter never stops learning from her mother.

Vicki Marsh Kabat

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