This will be my first Mother’s Day without my mom. In her honour, I’d like to share only 10 of the many lessons I learnt from her.
1. Always ask questions and never accept anything at face value.
My mother always asked questions. When she didn’t understand something, you would have to explain it to her until she understood. She didn’t just accept any old answer and she would dig and dig until it made sense. I remember several occasions when we would be in the bank and she would struggle with one of the bank tellers to explain something to her until she could understand it well enough. It wasn’t always pleasant.
2. Always cook enough food. You never know who will knock at your door.
My mother had this thing about always making sure there was bread in the house. When I asked her about it once, she said you never know who will be coming to your door with an empty stomach or she would say, if someone hungry comes to your door, at least you can give them bread. She loved cooking for her family and she always made more than enough. She loved it when we enjoyed her food (which we always did) and she loved the fellowship it created.
3. Always feed your family before you eat.
Food was my mother’s love language and she always made sure we dished up first before she did. Something else I fondly remember about her was that there was always food left and she would first ask if we wanted it before she ate.
4. Make sure there’s desert on Sundays.
My mom had a sweet tooth all her life and she loved fresh cream cake. It was her philosophy that there had to be cake or some kind of desert on a Sunday after lunch. There would be times when she would sadly say, “I can’t believe there is no cake today” . She would always have some sort of candy or chocolate in her handbag and her grandchildren loved that. She was a fantastic grandmother.
5. Know how to count your money.
My mother was good with math and she always had to make sure she knew exactly where her money was going. Every cent of it. She would use old school calculators and write everything down. She religiously made grocery lists every time she went to the shop and she would do several sums until her books balanced.
6. Keep records of everything.
This was very important to her. My mom wrote everything down. She was always afraid she might forget something. She left behind a big black suitcase with tons of documents in it. Her purse was always full of slips and papers with notes. She would even write down things my kids would say to her during the day so that she can tell it to me when I got off work.
7. Don’t be a push-over.
My mother was not a push-over. She never let anyone walk all over her and on several occasions she would tell me the same. She always told me to stand up for myself and never let people take advantage of me.
8. Always be kind.
My mom was a kind woman. She was always generous, whether with money, food or her time. She would listen to people as they spoke and she always offered advice.
9. Dance at every possible opportunity that you get.
There is this one memory that I’m sure my siblings and I share. It was on a Sunday and we came home from church. When we walked past one of the windows, we saw our mother in the kitchen cooking and dancing while she did. She looked so happy and free and she was in her element. We all just stood there, watching her through the window, dancing. That is one memory I’ll never forget.
10. Don’t sleep in and always make your bed.
The first thing my mother always did when she woke up was make her bed. Before she passed, she was teaching my daughter how to make the bed. I’ll be honest, I’m not as diligent as my mother was with making my bed.
There are many other lessons I learnt from my mother. Lessons she didn’t always know she was teaching me and lessons I didn’t always want to learn at the time.