Three Things My Mother Has Taught Me
With Mother's Day just a few days away, I wanted to do a post to honor my mom, Michelle Cook Wheeler. I truly am blessed when it comes to the mom category, my mom is the best. She is the most loving person I know, by far. She is generous, kind, selfless and as sweet as can be. And to top it off, she's incredibly fun to be around. It's so easy to take her for granted because she's just always been the best and I sometimes forget that having a mom like her isn't a guarantee in life, I just got extremely lucky. My parents got a divorce when I was about 12 years old, after that point it was basically just my mom raising me. In middle school friends would tell me that my mom and I were like Rory and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls. Much like Rory, I didn't really have a big gap in my life since my dad wasn't there much because my mom was great enough to fill both positions. She was always there for me, always did the best she could and was always extremely loving through thick and thin. She's the kind of mom that will drop everything she had planned and come pick you up when your tire pops an hour + outside of town (yes that recently happened), and she never gripes or groans when I ask for her help with stuff like that. She's the kind of mom that will do anything and everything for you just to make your life easier, without asking for anything in return. When I say I'm blessed with a great mom, it really is true and honestly writing this post is somewhat frustrating because there aren't enough words I could use, things I could say or stories I could share to really get you to understand how amazing she is.
Of course my mom has taught me more than three things, but for this post I wanted to share three things that she has taught me that have really shaped who I am today and who I strive to be. These three things that my mom taught me are principles that some people never understand or apply to their lives. I'm so grateful that my mom taught me these things because it has made me a better person and now that I'm about to be a mom, I can teach these lessons to my son.
Reciprocity Is Not Part Of Love
I already touched a bit on my mom's selflessness, but through her being that way she has taught me a greater lesson than she probably consciously meant to. She does random acts of kindness for people all the time. From small things to really big things and everywhere in between. She's got a heart to serve and I see it everyday. The list of selfless things she does for people is crazy long. The most current thing she's doing is helping out with one of her clients while the woman battles cancer. My mom does hair for a living and has a ton of clients that she's seen for many years. One of her clients is currently battling with cancer but unfortunately this woman's family hasn't been the greatest in supporting her through this. She told my mom that and so my mom decided it was her duty to drive this woman all around town multiple times a month to go to doctor appointments, and even help run this lady's errands. My mom has no agenda, expects absolutely nothing in return, and is just out to make this woman's life easier. I'm not exaggerating when I say my mom does stuff like this all the time. She does selfless things to help out my sister and I, our family, her best friends, and she even extends her help to people she isn't super close. This has set such a great example in my life to do things without expecting anything in return. Do kind things for people just for the love of helping others, not for what you might gain in return. What a huge life lesson. I'm by no means perfect at this, I've got a lot of growing and I know I can be selfish at times, but it sure is nice to have that example set for me to match and model. It's such a great feeling knowing that every time my mom helps me out or does something for me that she isn't making a list of "things I did for Danielle" or "Danielle owes me". She doesn't keep score and she simply tells me "that's what family does for one another". She is spot on with that mindset and I strive to be more and more selfless everyday.
Be Kind To People, No Matter Their Status
From dirt poor or homeless, to middle class, to rich... my mom is kind to everyone. She's not blind and of course she acknowledges that status and social class are a real thing in society, but she doesn't like or dislike someone based on that. If someone is dirt broke but is kind, my mom will be kind back, treating them with respect and dignity. If someone is extremely rich, and is a kind person, my mom will treat them just the same. She's more about checking out someone's character than their economic status when she's deciding how to treat someone. But it goes further than status. If someone is ugly, she won't be caught making fun of them. If someone is disabled, she'll help them and not treat them like they are less than. The list goes on, but you get the idea. She is kind to people. She doesn't bully, judge, shame, etc. When I was growing up, she taught me to be nice to everyone at school (unless of course someone was a jerk then she would want me to stand my ground), but if she found out I was making fun of someone for a petty reason, she would be disgusted with me and rip me a new one. I was homecoming queen freshman year and prom queen senior year in high-school and I joke that it's because I had so many different "groups" who would vote for me. I wan't mean to someone because they were "nerdy". I didn't think I was better than someone for being in a certain group. I think that's because my mom taught me well. She set the standard that it was unacceptable to be rude to someone if they didn't deserve it. Now, I'm not saying I was perfect, I have a few memories where I acted like a typical high-school brat, but for the most part I tried to be kind to everyone and those bad memories make me sick when I think about them. Everyone deserves to be treated like an equal. I'm so grateful that my mom set a solid example when it comes to how to treat others because in life this is such a big deal. It's about loving like Jesus loves. I hope to be that example for my son.
Embrace Your Inner Dork
Life is more fun when you act like a goofball, embrace your inner dork and laugh a lot. My mom and I have acted like TOTAL dorks together. I mean, if I had video of this you'd just die! I act like a dork (goofball, whatever you want to call it), a lot and I get that from my mom. I know to some of you that might not sound like a compliment, but to me and my mom that's not a bad thing. Sometimes in life you just need to not take yourself too seriously, loosen up and have a little fun. It's okay to dance like an idiot, laugh 'till your cheeks are sore and play around like a child. My mom and I aren't always like this, but when we get in these goofy moods, there's no stopping us. Sometimes my nephews just look at us like "omg you are so embarrassing" and I am totally okay with that, I find it hilarious. My mom and I went on a road trip to the east coast (a 24 + hour drive) and let me tell you that was some of the most fun I've had with my mom ever. We'd have to laugh a little to make the drive go by faster and trust me if we didn't act like crazy women, that drive would have felt a lot longer. I'm so grateful that my mom isn't "too cool" or has an attitude that she needs to act like a snob and be serious all the time. Our life would have been more bland growing up if that was the case. I love that I can be myself and act so silly around her without fear of any judgement. She's a blast and I cherish all of our goofy memories together. No matter how old we get we will continue to create those memories.
Thank you for being the woman that you are. Thank you for all that you've taught me through the years and for always being there for me. There are so many things you've taught me on purpose, but these things I've listed above are some of my favorite lessons I've learned from simply observing how you live your life. These are lessons I will apply in my life and it'll make me a better woman. You've consistently lived your life this way year after year and I've been able to watch and learn, trying to adapt these things into my own life. I am proud to have you as my mom and am so grateful that my son will have you as a grandma. You are the best and I know I don't tell you enough how much I love you and how much you mean to me. Happy Mother's Day Mom!