As I look into a mirror, I can see why I’ve been told countless times “You are your mother’s daughter.” There are these features in my face–my eyes, my smile–that resemble those of my mother. They have been passed down to me.
The other day as I was talking to one of my daughters, she made the comment, “Isn’t it funny how my friends act like their mothers?” For example, “Grace is so sweet, just like her mom” and I nodded my head in agreement. “And Linkers says things that remind me so much of her mom. Sometimes I think it’s her mom talking.” I paused to think about what she was saying and could see some traits that were similar. However, I wasn’t totally convinced. Then she reminded me of another friend, Lexie. “Okay, mom, Lexie is a spitting image of her mom.” I had to remind my daughter that Lexie was adopted. “But mom, she talks and walks just like her mom.”
There are some physical traits that we inherit from our moms, and yet others that are taught by example We constantly give gifts in life. Some gifts are worth regifting while others are not. As my daughter continued to speak, my mind frantically raced through the actions, mannerisms, and traits of my own 2 daughters.
I spent time with a friend this week who found herself in a coughing fit. It seemed weird to me, but she raised her right hand while she was caught up in a coughing tantrum. Someone asked, “What are you doing? Why are you raising your arm?” Her response may surprise you, “I have no idea, my mom always told me to do it whenever I started coughing.” Crazy? Maybe…but it sure got me thinking about what I’m teaching my own kids.
When the grandparents came to watch my firstborn, they were given a parenting manual–a long list of how to raise my child. I followed the rules and guidelines to a T, but still my baby woke up in the middle of the night crying. I adhered to a strict code of ethics, and yet I failed. I made mistakes. I encountered numerous times during the past 17 years when I didn’t have a clue what to do.
At times, in these situations, I reacted with fear and frantically reached for answers. I would ask my friends for guidance and insight. I would pick up every Parenting magazine and read whatever blog I could get my hands on to find answers for my debacles. I would watch Dr. Phil and occasionally Oprah too. I tried to fix my kids and have them fit into a mold that I had created in my mind. For some reason, it never worked out as I anticipated. They had tantrums at church. They talked back in front of my perfect parenting friends. They threw me for loops when I least expected.
At some point, I woke up and realized I was searching for answers in all the wrong places. My mother had taught me well. She had taught me to dig deep into God’s Word. Her life exemplified studying God’s Word. My earliest memories are seeing her Bible spread out on the kitchen table, littered with underlines, highlights and notes. She taught me to believe God’s Word as truth. She passed down the greatest treasure.
I’m thankful for mothers. They give us life. They teach us. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They are beautiful…and yet ugly, too. They’re not perfect. May we learn a lesson from each and every one. May we sort out the good from the bad. May we become better because of their influence on us. May we realize that their imperfections can make us better, too. May we take to heart the positive reflections.
“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:23-24
Let her know that she is appreciated and loved. Share with her a message of hope. Encourage her to keep pressing on and passing on good gifts to her own children. Love to you all!