There are some lessons in life from my mom that never quite stick.
For instance, I always, always forget to send cards and gifts on holidays until the holiday is upon me. I can never connect the thought of , “Oh it’s getting ready to be Valentine’s Day!!!” with the obvious step of “Ooo! I should send my granny a card or some flowers!!” My cards are always late…if I actually ever get around to sending one at all.
And I SUCK at making friends. Like, all the tricks and tips she bombarded me with about friendliness and being outgoing? I remember them, even tell them to my own daughters–but do I do them? NAWL. I still live in my own little bubble. My kids are pretty friendly though. Not that I’m much help.
And matching clothes and outfits? Let’s just not even. My mother still buys most of my outfits. I dunno. Jeans and a hoodie just always seem like a good idea to me. And I hate shopping. Too much pressure to make a frivolous decision about what to wear. I might not even like the outfit when it’s time to wear it.
But there are some lessons that I am starting to understand as I get closer to what I call the “age of understanding”.
Like, if you feel like crap, you probably should put some effort into how you look. Dressing up in the thing that makes you feel good doesn’t change sickness or struggle, but it reminds you of who you are and what you’re capable of.
Or: it’s okay to not be okay. Just don’t let everybody know that you’re not okay. Some people are looking for you to fail and fall. And if you don’t know who is really in your corner, you’d do better to keep your pain to yourself until you figure that out.
Or: I can show you better than I can tell you. Silence in the face of foolishness is golden. I no longer have to prove what is right; folks who want righteousness will seek it and the rest? Well, life has a funny way of showing you how wrong you are whether you wanna know or not.
And here’s one I’m embracing right now: take care of yourself. You are literally all you got, and your kids? Well, if you have some, none of them want to grow up without a mom–especially when it is something that could be avoided.
I’m working on that last one.
I have carried weight heavier than any one person should bear over the last few years. I’ve built something from lots of nothing–only to have it torn up and torn down again. I’ve worn smiles I didn’t feel like smiling, kept tears that I should have cried, eaten my way through millions of calories instead of embracing how I felt and asking for help. And for what? To look like I had it together, that’s what. But I did not and have subsequently found myself falling down the rabbit holes of superwoman despite ceremoniously retiring the cape two years ago.
Old habits are hard to quit.
But as I grow into being grown, I am slowly but surely getting it. Every single day now, I embrace the beauty that is my mother’s wisdom and unappreciated grwce under the fire that is being a woman in a world ruled by whims of men. And I don’t believe I’d be getting so good at it if Gloria didn’t give me such a fantastic example of how that works.