When we’re kids, if we’re lucky, our parents are our role models and our heroes. I thought my mom was the prettiest, smartest woman in the world, and that my dad was the most handsome and capable man who ever lived.
Of course, as I grew up I learned they were mere mortals like the rest of us (although, still special, of course!) My dad passed away several years ago, but my mother is still my hero. She handles everything with humor and grace, and even when she’s uncomfortable herself, she’s never unkind or unpleasant to those around her.
My mother taught me to read – and that I could be anything. She taught me to do laundry – and that everyone should take a turn at community service. She taught me to put myself in another’s shoes – and that happy people don’t feel the need to be difficult or mean. She taught me that “if you have a personality, somebody won’t like it” – and it’s best to make the most of what you have rather than wishing to be someone else. She taught me to always err on the side of kindness – and the value of being a loyal friend.
She taught me all of this by example.
And not just me. She’s taught my sister, our friends, our children, grandchildren, and extended family. She taught the Brownies & Girl Scouts she led, the YWCA kids she mentored, and the VISTA (domestic Peace Corps) volunteers she supervised. She took her turns as our Sunday School teacher, camp nurse, and school librarian. She had an impact on her co-workers, her students, and pretty much anyone who came in contact with her. She’s a bright, funny, unassuming, and thoughtful person.
This isn’t to say she’s a pushover. She’s a canny Scot with a creative wit and at least one foot planted firmly on the ground. She’s had successful careers in PR and magazine editing and writing, as well as being a nurse. She doesn’t tolerate nastiness or irresponsibility. She has always expected good manners and respect from us – and not just toward her, but toward everyone we meet. She lives her faith quietly and gracefully. She’s always made us want to be like her, and proud to be her daughters.
So, Grannie/Grandma/Mummy/Maggie: With lots of love, thank you for being you, and Happy Mother’s Day!