MamaBlogger365 – What My Mother’s Life Taught Me by Jennifer Covello
I recently finished reading Anna Quindlen’s book, “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake”, a must-read for any mother in my opinion. In this “can’t put it down” book, Ms. Quindlen recounts her journey as a parent, wife, daughter, and writer. I received this book for my most recent “monumental” birthday and without question, it has given me a new perspective on my own life.
There were many memorable passages in the book, but one in particular has stayed with me. Ms. Quindlen was writing about the lessons she learned from her mother who’d passed away when she was only nineteen. She wrote that because of this, her mother’s life had taught her (early on) about loss. I found this quite sad – that someone so young would learn such a hard lesson.
This made me think about my own mother’s life and what it taught me. My mom passed away a little over 3 years ago. She was 83. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child and my mother was not in the best of health, how I thought she would not live to see him grow up. Turns out, she not only saw him through 10 years old but she also saw my daughter through 6 years old. Wow…
Both of my children have solid memories of my mother. They mostly remember her hugs, her smile, and of course, her Southern fried chicken! While I would’ve loved for her to have seen my children grow into adults, like my sibling’s children, it was not meant to be. That’s one of the downsides of having your children later in life.
I’m grateful though. I’m grateful for all the time we did have with my mother. I’m grateful that my children have great memories of her and still talk about her now and then. But most of all, I’m just grateful for my mom.
And when I contemplated the lesson of loss that Anna Quindlen learned from her mother, I realized that the lesson I’ve learned from my mother, is one of gratitude. And what a lesson that is!
My mother taught me to be independent. I can remember her saying to me so many times as I was about to head off to college, “I don’t want you to have to depend on anyone else to take care of you.” This has stuck with me my entire life. I often wondered what the genesis of my mother’s wish for me was. Could it have been simply a reflection of the times when more and more women were graduating college and starting careers? Or was it based in her wanting me to have more choices than perhaps she had?
It doesn’t really matter. My mother just wanted the best for me and all of her children. Isn’t that what every mother wants? Only the best?
My mother’s birthday is next month. She would’ve been 85. I remember her saying that ‘age is just a number’ and she never paid attention to it. Perhaps that’s why she always looked younger than she actually was.
I find myself telling my children about things my mother did or said continuously. It gives them a glimpse not only into my childhood but into the person they knew as “Grandma”. I’m grateful to have those memories and to be able to pass them on.
But more importantly, I’m grateful to have been my mother’s daughter and that I was witness to her life and she mine for as long as I had her. She taught me about having respect for my elders, generosity, acceptance, compassion, and love of family. And it is her love that will live on in my heart and my children forever. Now that’s something to be grateful for!
Happy Birthday Mom!
“The Purposeful Parent
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Jennifer Covello is The Purposeful Parent, an award-winning author and owner of Frittabello baby gifts. Her passion for motherhood is evident through her writings and her speaking on topics that impact moms and children. As a divorced mother of two children, Ms. Covello, continually searches for the lessons her own children teach her along her parenting journey.