By Lil Light O’ Mine Intern, Katie Richardson
Three things I know for certain about my mom:
- She has the most perfect handwriting. (20 years of teaching kindergarten will do that to you.)
- She is by far the most patient, caring and loving woman I know.
- I would without a doubt have never made it without her.
When Courtney asked me to write a blog post for her on what I would like moms to know my thoughts went directly to my mom, Leslie. I tried to think of what she did while raising me that had the most impact in shaping who I am today. Of course there are things I don’t exactly remember because I was too young, or the Jedi mom tricks that you don’t even realize were a lesson, but I tried to nail down some things I truly believe my mom did perfectly.
1. Letting me be me
I come from an extremely athletic family; my dad played collegiate baseball and coached travel softball almost my entire childhood, my aunt is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in softball, and almost all my cousins played competitive sports. Naturally, I was very athletic and excelled in all the sports I played, especially softball. However, I didn’t have a love and passion for the game that made me want to continue to play competitively. When I was about 12 years old I decided to quit. Now to most of you, this may not seem like a big deal, but try telling your dad whose your coach, and your gold medal winning aunt that you would no longer be playing, even though you had the talent. Talk about a dagger to the heart. I remember being so nervous, but my parents were so supportive. Even though they felt like it was something I’d regret they didn’t force me to stay in something I didn’t love. I absolutely love that about my mom she has let me make my own mistakes my whole life. Still today I watch the Women’s College World Series on ESPN and think I could have been out there, what was I thinking quitting when I did. But I know that it was my choice, if my parents had forced me to play I know I would resent them now for it.
2. Leading by example
I truly believe the best way to teach kids love, compassion, patience, kindness and respect is by being loving, compassionate, patient, kind and respectful. My mom and I have always had a mutual respect for each other, especially in my teenage years. She would listen to my opinion on things and she trusted me when I was out with friends. Then when I was out I respected her rules and went where I told her I was going to be because I knew she had full trust in me. I also knew that if I did something that broke that trust I wasn’t going to be able to do what I wanted anymore. I think this can be such a fine line because I have some friends whose parents were so strict so they rebelled and got into things they shouldn’t have. I also have friends whose parents let them do whatever they want, and they too rebelled, almost as if they were craving the attention and respect of their parents. It is almost an art form that my mom and dad perfected.
3. Don’t Flip Out
A fight is not the end of the world so don’t stress! – Now don’t get me wrong my mom and I have an amazing relationship, but that doesn’t me there weren’t any speed bumps. I think every mother daughter relationship has experienced fights and disagreements. Most of the time it would be about me never being ready for school on time. I am not a morning person, and I crave those extra fifteen minutes of lounging in bed. It drove my mom absolutely crazy (as it should have) that I was perpetually late and therefore made her late. We would fight the entire first five minutes in the car on the way to The Christ School almost every morning. I learned my lesson though when I could finally drive myself to school, and my high school teachers were not quite as understanding about tardiness. The most important thing about fights between us was that at the end of them we would apologize for getting upset and try to talk it out when we were less heated.
4. Be there
This is another one of those things that must have to be perfected over time. One thing about my mom that I loved was that she wasn’t always in my business. She knew I was a good student who got my work done so she wouldn’t stand over my shoulder while I finished math problems. At the same time I knew that if I needed something she would be there to help me in a second. I never had to question whether my parents would be at a school play or a soccer game because they always were. If they couldn’t make it I knew it was for a good reason, and I also knew they felt so bad for not being there that I’d have to reassure them I’d be fine. Give your kids enough space to let them learn, grow and figure out new things on their own, but make sure they know you’ll be there waiting if they need you.
5. Seek answers in Him
I realize a lot of the things I’ve mentioned in this post are not black and white. There are times I am sure that you are going to think I am the worst mother ever, you’re not. The fact that you care enough to think that way is reassurance that you are a great mom. When you do go through those tough times or you’re not sure what to do talk to God. That’s what He’s there for.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
No one is perfect and no one has all the answers, except for Him.
My mom always tells my brother and me, “Oh I got so lucky with you two, you are such great kids.” She says that like it happened out of chance. I always kind of laugh a little because she and my dad are the reason we have grown into responsible adults. I think I got so lucky with the two of them!
Katie is Courtney’s intern this summer and is saving her sanity. She is a marketing major and graduate of FSU and looking for a full-time job this Fall. Courtney WISHES she could hired her yesterday. If you know of a killer job, let us know. Read about her brother and her wonderful LIGHTHOUSES series here.