What Mom Taught Me

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 18 Comments

This morning at church, our talented pianist played “It Is Well with My Soul” for the special music during our offertory. For me. Not because I asked but because she remembered that was a song we played at Mom’s funeral three years ago this week.

It’s funny how time spins away. Sometimes it’s like yesterday that Mom was here and then again, it seems like forever since I saw her smile. She was such a wonderful mother. A wonderful woman. And she taught me much. So today I’m remembering some of those things Mom taught me from how she lived.

Mom taught me how to love. Don’t you think that might be one of the first things any mother might teach you? By example. A mother’s love is pure and continuous. It lasts through colicky nights, temper tantrums, rebellion, sickness and all the joyful times as well. A mom loves and my mom certainly did that. I never once, ever doubted that my mother loved me. Even during those hard last years when she had Alzheimer’s and no longer recognized who I was, I knew that in her heart beneath that dreadful disease that was wiping out her memory, she loved me. And I loved her back. She taught me love.

She taught me faithfulness. She and Dad had nearly fifty years together before he died of pancreatic cancer. She took care of him through good and bad. She worked alongside him on the farm. She was of the generation that catered to their husbands. They did everything they could to make their men’s lives easier. With Dad, Mom laid out his clothes. She turned down the bed. She made sure a cold water pitcher was always in the refrigerator on the exact same shelf. She cooked the food he liked. She made his life easier. While my husband is not quite as fortunate as Dad with some of these kinds of things, we are still together all these years later. Faithfully committed to one another.

Mom taught me perseverance and how to work. She never shied away from any tasks that needed doing and she always saw the job through whether it was working in the field all day and then coming home to fix supper and get us ready for school the next day. She expected my sisters and me to work too. We had chores. We worked in the crops. But she was always there with us, giving us a helping hand if needed. That perseverance serves me well in my writing life and helps me push through when the words don’t come easy or when rejections pile up.

But perhaps one of the very best things she taught me was how to enjoy life. To smile. To get every bit of good out of everything that happens. Mom did that better than I ever will. She loved her life no matter the season. She enjoyed the simple things like feeding the birds and making jams and jelly. She loved to read. She liked to play cards. After Dad died, she traveled all over the world, taking cruises and tours and laughing with costume dogs. She knew how to have fun.

One of my good memories when good days weren’t that common after Mom broke her hip and had to be in the nursing home, was the physical therapists getting her to sit on a balance ball. The therapists and I doubted she would do it and then she sat down on that ball and jumped around like a kid. She had us all laughing.

I am blessed to have her smiles and joy in living running through my thoughts as I remember Mom. What a mama she was!

What is something your mom taught you?

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Comments 18

  1. Phyllis Miller

    My mother was a wonderful mother to me. She wasn’t real affectionate but I never doubted she loved me, just by her caring ways. She became a widow in her 40’s, then continued to take care of us kids, she did not finish high school but somehow got a nursing degree, it was different back then. She was a good and caring nurse. I wish I could have had more years with my mother, she passed away in 1985 just shy of 72, I was 36 years old and could not believe my mother was gone, it was so hard for me. I was 18 when I had my first child, the first of five my husband and I raised. Mother was 35 when I was born. My mother taught me hard work and sacrifice, I never heard her complain. I can remember seeing her sewing up holes in a pair of white nursing stockings, that was when they wore the white uniforms and nurses hats, she could not always afford to buy new stockings I guess, puts a lump in my throat even now as I write this. I remember she like to tap dance although she never had any lessons, she would just tap dance around the house, she played the piano and harmonica and could yodel! These are dear things I remember about my precious mother ! She taught my oldest sister how to play piano when she was only four years old, I always wanted to learn but by the time I came along we no longer had a piano and mother had to work more because our dad was sick. She also like to go fishing, and just loved the simple things in life. I think I am a lot like her, in looks and ways, I consider it an honor.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      What a beautiful comment about your mother, Phyllis. Thank you so much for sharing that. Isn’t it wonderful to remember how our mothers were, what they liked and how they loved us? I can “see” your mom tap dancing through the house and having fun with music. You were very young when you lost your dad, but I can tell from what you write that your mother had what you needed to assure you grew up strong.

  2. Linda McFarland

    Your mom was a beautiful lady inside and out! My 90 year-old mom is so wise. I am blessed that she is doing as well as she is and thankful I can pick up the phone and ask for advice. The best thing she’s taught me is to not judge others and always pray! I have been to memorial services where letters were read from daughters to mothers, so I decided to write my mom a letter and gave it to her to read. I wanted her to know how grateful I am. Thank you for sharing your mom and giving us a chance to share about our moms. Blessings!

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      Ann H Gabhart

      What a wonderful idea, Linda! Sometimes we do wait until it’s too late to share how we feel about those we love. I’m sure your mother treasured that letter. So much better to give it to her instead of waiting until only other could hear. Not that the letters at those memorial services weren’t a bad idea. Such a beautiful way to give tribute to a loving mother. I hope your mother continues to do well and you have sweet times together for many more years.

  3. Paula

    Hi, Ann. My Mother is still round at 100 years old! She always said that we were much more alike in our values and outlook on life than my sister who is only 13 months younger than I. I guess during our growing-up years was the start of the eroding of our society.
    Mother was hard working and when she wanted something like a better house or furniture (antique) she found a way to make it happen. She trained herself to be an antique expert. She used to drag us kids to the library to do her research.
    Even while we were in High School, she worked as a nurses aid to save money to go back to school to complete her teaching degree. She got it shortly after I got married ( I was 20). She became a Special Ed teacher, all the while buying and selling antiques, which she kept up with after she retired from teaching!
    Daddy worked hard, too, sometime working three jobs and drove her to auctions , etc because she didn’t drive. And they raised four of us kids.
    Mother seems to be failing now and not understanding or hearing . Her eyesight is deteriorating. She’s still a blessing.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Wonderful, Paula, that your mother made that century mark. Mom always said she wanted to, but then illness interfered. Sounds as if your mother was a go getter and being dragged to the library doesn’t sound so bad to me. I would have loved being there with all those books. 🙂 Our parents who came up through the Great Depression years did know the value of work and they demonstrated that to us. I hope you have more good days with your mother.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      I know what you mean, Melissa. Sometimes you have to wonder how we can live up to their examples in caring.

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  4. Joy Peach

    My mother was one of the great mom’s too. She taught me honesty, hardwork, loyalty and kindness. Perhaps the best thing she taught me was to laugh. Learn to laugh at yourself and not take yourself so seriously. Always keep the kid inside you and have fun. She was a gentle soul who could be a tiger if someone hurt her family. I miss her so much. She has been gone 7 years in Oct.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      That laughing to get through things and to enjoy life is a wonderful lesson, Joy. We were so blessed to have such wonderful mothers. Those great women who loved being moms.

  5. Lou Anne Panning

    Elva was a fun mama, always singing a tune in her busy life with husband and children. She was even a favorite of my friends…just a little bit differet than the norm. Most moms wore dresses, my mom had jumpsuits, pantsuits,3 inch heels, and rode a moped on errands. She grew brightly colorful flowers in one part of our vegetable garden, could get a meal together in “13” minutes,made beautiful clothes for her daughters into the late evenings, signed us up for tap, ballet, baton twirling lessons.She would make us lists of chores when we were older, place on kitchen table. Then highly praised us all as we crossed off one by one without any interference from parents. One of my favorite memories was after an argument with my dad, I knew where I could find them..in the kitchen hugging one another. My parents had troubles but their love was stronger. She led me to Christ in such a quiet, gentle way…it was easy for me to accept. She lived almost 95 years, the last shopping trip together was when she was around 92. She stilled dressed just a little crazy and wild, I loved that about her and so much more…mama was my cheeeleader,

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      Ann H Gabhart

      What a beautiful picture of your loving mom, Lou Anne. Made me smile just reading it and and thinking about your mom conquering the world and raising some wonderful children in her own special way. Sometimes it’s good to be a little crazy and wild. You were obviously a fortunate child. Thank you for sharing about your mother.

  6. Loretta Shumpert

    Ann, my mother was much like your mother. They were probably the same age, same generation, same outlook on life. I, too, never doubted my mother’s love. I learned about committment from my parents, about love, everything that I would need in life. So much more I could say about my mother but I’ll leave it there. I am so sorry for folks who didn’t know this kind of love.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      So am I, Loretta. A loving family is the greatest riches anyone can have. That generation of moms and dads were strong and wonderful examples on how to approach life.

  7. Carol

    My mother taught us the importance of completing tasks we started. She lived for the needs of her daughters and transported us to countless lessons and meetings. There was no doubt that she loved us.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      It’s so good to have that beautiful knowledge of a mother’s love, Carol. Not that everyone has that kind of mother, but a loving mom is what I would wish for every baby born. And a loving dad too, of course. But we’re talking about moms today. 🙂

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