In seventh grade, I created a questionnaire in a notebook. Each page hosted a single question, with plenty of open lines for responses- questions like: “What’s your favorite movie? Color? Swear word? Most embarrassing moment? What are you afraid of? etc. This was passed around among all the girls in my class (I don’t remember why boys were not included, but probably because we were 12). We all delighted in reading each other’s interesting, humorous and occasionally deeply meaningful content, and it inspired some great conversations afterwards.
Thirty-two years later, with your help, I would like to try a similar, simple experiment. In honor of Mother’s Day, I would like to ask you to share one simple piece of wisdom you have learned from your mother. Whether about yourself, life in general, or about the world. Maybe it is a quote, a particular memory that brings joy, or a special recipe, or the knowledge how to do something. It doesn’t have to be anything well-thought out, just the first thing that comes up. Choose one, and please share it in a reply to this post. If you don’t mind sharing (and don’t feel like you have to), please also give you age and what state/country you live in. Do you know anyone else who has/had a mother? Feel free to share this post with them, too! I’ll look forward to reading all responses!
44, New Hampshire: My mother was a Master Gardener and horticulturist, and loved all types of plants. She occasionally was a judge at rose shows. I remember one she brought me to as a child: surrounded by all this fragrance and beauty, I asked her what she looked for when trying to judge so many pretty things at once. She taught me that roses, like all plants, have certain genetic and situational needs that are greatly impacted by where they grow and how they are cared for. Factors such as soil nutrition, water, sun, and exposure to stressors and weather elements affect growth and blooms. When they become stressed from not having their needs met, pests can pick up the signals and attack. She showed me that if you look closely, that there is no such thing as perfection- all plants have bumps and irregularities, often scars- this is part of plant life. However, any plant well tended for its needs with patience could become healthy and beautiful. Not only that, but their individual differences and exceptional adaptations to the elements of their environments are exactly the things that make them winners in shows! (This view impacted me profoundly in how I would later train to administer healthcare for people).
by Cora Rivard, N.D.
26, New Hampshire. Growing up with Albinism — a condition that affects both my vision and my appearance — was hard for me. Often times I felt out of place, different; kids made fun of me in school for being different. I know it broke my mother’s heart to see her baby girl upset but my mother was and still is the strongest woman I know. My mother was never the one with freshly manicured nails or tons of makeup on but she has always been beautiful to me. She taught me how to be strong. She showed me at a young age that beauty doesn’t come in a lipstick container or with a price tag. She showed me how to be a strong, beautiful woman from within and that was all that mattered. Several years later as a personal trainer and health coach, I try to be an advocate for young women everywhere. I hope I can teach young woman to love their bodies and be strong, independent, beautiful woman from within, the way my mother taught me.
My mother comes from a line of very strong women, her sisters and her mother before them. Although they all raised large families they were, in addition, educators, business people and active in politics. Growing up, I always knew that I was expected to do well in school, participate in civic activities and go to church. All of those things have stood me in good stead during my 63 years but the one thing that I always remember my mother saying to me is “If you can read you can do anything.” Of course we all learn to read in school but I have always had a love of reading and so have educated myself in many ways because of that. When we travel, I read all of the signs in the museums and keep us from getting lost (before Google Maps), I have taught myself to cook and quilt with little outside teaching and I have educated myself about our political situation all through reading. So I hope I have passed this love of reading on to my children and I look forward to sharing that with my granddaughter and any more future grandchildren I will have.