Here we are, in the second edition of people who inspire me. I decided, when I was going to write these posts, that I would start with people I knew and then work my way out to people who I admire from afar. And no group of select individuals that I admire would be complete without including my wonderful mother.
It’s sort of funny, but I told her that I would be writing about her after she read the post about Seester. And her first response was “Oh! You’ve never written about me before!” Which, Mother, isn’t even close to true. I probably just didn’t show you. Because if I could turn out to be half the person you are, I think I’d be doing pretty well for myself.
There are so many attributes in my mother that I aspire to attain.[i] The two that always come to mind right away are her calm and her patience. For several years, after she already sent two kids through high school, she became the youth director for our hometown church. Let’s put this another way – after living with two teenagers, she chose to work with more teenagers! Why? Beats me, seriously. But she was good at it, and she was so happy. Those teens respected her like I have never seen, and I honestly hope that some of them are reading this, because then they would know who privileged I have always felt to be her daughter. Anyway, though, back to what I was originally talking about – my mother’s affinity for calm and patience. Seester and I have always said that if Mom gets irritated, we are doing something very, very wrong, because she’s the calmest, most patient person on the planet. It’s really too bad that trait didn’t get passed down to us.[ii]
There’s so much more, though. She loves so strongly. It was most recently evident when she stepped down from her job as the youth director at church. She couldn’t even tell the kids without crying. I was there, I knew it was coming, and she was making me cry. She loved them so much, loved that job, loved everything about it. What was most interesting for me to see was how much everyone loved her back. She was the reason they were all there. She was the anchor that held that program together, that built it up when it was struggling. She always taught us that love is the most important commandment, that nothing else should ever top it. And if you watch her, she lives it. I hope that, when I’m a mother one day, my children think even half as highly of me.
Just like with Seester, I could go on and on. But I am just going to add one more thing. Mom is good with money, which sounds like a simple thing, but it’s actually one of the most important things. In starting my Chloe + Isabel business, she was supportive from the very beginning, coaching me to keep my receipts, to keep track of mileage, to write down all the start up costs. And I appreciate all of it, but what this example has taught me most is that it is never the things she says that make the difference for me. It is that she is saying them at all. When I wanted to start doing this, H and I argued about it for a while. He wasn’t immediately on board, because he thought I would be spending more money than making, that I would be running myself ragged, that I already had too much on my plate.[iii] I know that this means that he cares about me, that he loves me, and that’s his way of looking out for me. And, in hindsight, I need that as much as I need what my mom gave me – immediate support. She was on board right away, she happily agreed to be my first Pop-Up show host, and she was able to create a guest list of nearly 50 people. She is my biggest supporter, always, no matter what I’m doing or where I am. And that is sometimes what I need, more than the caution of an engineering brain.[iv]
I love you, Mama, to the moon and back, just like that creepy book you always used to read us.[v]
“Mama used to say ‘girl, it won’t be long until it’s time to go out on your own. Chase your dreams, find your place in life. I know you’ll do just fine.’ But when that day finally came, there were things she needed to, but could not say. So I whispered softly as I wiped the tears from Mama’s eyes, ‘You can’t lose me. Bet your life. I am here and I will always be just a wish away. Wherever I go, no matter how far, my love is where you are. You won’t be lost if you believe you can’t lose me.’” —Faith Hill, “You Can’t Lose Me”
[i] Often without luck, I might add.
[ii] Whenever Seester and I are freaking out about something, we always comment that we have no idea how we ended up like this, since our parents are both steady, calm, and stable. It’s still a mystery.
[iii] Engineers, man. Always thinking logically. I bet Spock was an engineer.
[iv] Truly, I need both – that person to encourage me to keep going and that person to reel me back in when I’m going overboard.
[v] It’s only creepy now. Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch. Look it up, if you’re not familiar.