What My Mom Taught Me

I'm the girl in the pink t-shirt

I’m the girl in the pink t-shirt

My mom is responsible for so many of the passions in my life. The background in this picture shows two of them…my love of books and my thirst for knowledge.

I suspect that she also inspired my love for writing, particularly poetry. As often happens when we’re young, we emulate what we see. My mom used to write these long, drawn out odes…probably inspired by reading Psalms. All I know is that I was enthralled with the idea that she had created something that other people wanted to read…with her mind and her imagination. And, as happens with the oldest child, I attempted to emulate her…with my own little twists. My sister would tell you that I took it a step further and spun tales to entertain her and my brothers.

Mothers and daughters are complicated relationships…and I suspect it will always be that way. Through her I learned to be timely because it’s a trait she lacks. Yet there were other things that would blow me away…like when she told me how she chose my name. My passion for music comes from her, too. Every member of my immediate family is actually vocally talented. She and my dad used to sing all the time. She was disappointed that I didn’t take more interest in learning an instrument, too. Even when we didn’t have much, she found ways to help my sister and I pay for our voice lessons in high school.

My mom also has a love for cooking and baking; one she passed on to my sister and me. My first memory of making bread with her was when I was 3. She made sure she had mini-loaf pans and tart pans to go with her pie and bread pans. As she would make hers, she’d double the recipe so my sister and I could make “ours”. We loved that. In fact, baking is something we both do to relax us. Like my mom, I’m an intuitive cook… a pinch of this and a dab of that are commonplace in my cooking. It’s all to taste, which makes it difficult for me to share recipes, but it was always fun.

As some of you realize, my dad wasn’t really a presence in my life. She was the one who never missed a concert that I performed in, she who told me that I could be anyone and do anything I wanted. She did everything she could so that his absence wasn’t missed too much. She found a way to support us with nothing more than a high school diploma…and chose not to take advantage of “aid” agencies, though we qualified. She believed there were others that needed it more and that as long as she was working, accepting things like food stamps would send us the wrong message. She wanted us to be strong and independent. She taught me the value of hard work and dedication.

Don’t get me wrong…we had our ups and downs. Having me so young made us more like siblings than mother/daughter sometimes… We both had our tempers and we knew how to push each others buttons. The single mom in her gave her a very vivid imagination. (She thought my catnip was marijuana and that my sister’s contact lens enzyme tabs were birth control pills that I’d procured without her knowledge or permission.)

Thanks to her, my sister and I were independent enough to spread our wings and fly from the nest as soon as we were old enough. Unlike most kids, we didn’t do it because we were rebelling or needed to escape. We did it to exercise the independence she raised us to crave.

Even then, we knew she was always just a phone call away. If we ever truly needed her she’d drop everything and try to find a way to help us. She still would.

She’s not perfect… In fact, she’s a bit of a hypochondriac. She gave us vitamins one year for stocking stuffers. She’s spiked my sister’s OJ with fish oil to “enhance her memory” when we were in high school preparing for finals… (Yeah, that was hilarious for me, disgusting for her.) She has a brutal temper. She’s beyond protective. She jumps to conclusions and has a tendency to shoot first, ask questions later (a trait common in single moms who want to keep their kids safe).

Through her, my sister and I gained a very clear vision of what a loving God looks like. She raised us to do what was right, even when it wasn’t always easy or comfortable. She taught us to be tough, resilient and self sufficient. She also showed us what commitment looked like.

When we lost our brothers she was there…strong and steadfast. She knew that as long as we had each other and faith, we would survive. She never let go.

Watching her over the years I’ve learned so much about strength, resilience and love….and the kind of mother I’d like to be (if I ever have any children). It always chokes me up and blows my mind a little when she hugs me and tells me that my sister and I inspired so much of what we inspire in her.

May I grow up to be as inspiring to someone as she’s been to me.

Now it’s your turn…. What traits have you inherited from your mom? What inspires you? If you’re a mom, what do you love most about being one?

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23 thoughts on “What My Mom Taught Me

  1. John W. Howell says:

    Very nice tribute. To answer your question; my mom taught me to never give up. My dad passed when I was ten and my mom was worried that I would not want to go on to be the best I could be. She continually supported activities that lead to the achievement of aspirations no matter how small. She continually demonstrated that ridin’ high in April, shot down in May was a lesson opportunity not a permanent condition

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      That’s a great lesson to learn. Resiliency is so important. Everyone takes hits in life. It’s the getting up that often determines your success. Thanks for sharing!

  2. L.J. Kentowski says:

    Great tribute, Kitt! I love that you value the relationship with your mom. I do as well. Me and my mom have always been friends. I think the best thing she has ever taught me was that as long as you are honest with yourself and others, you can be anything you want to be. It’s something I teach my son now. Value the things you have, respect those you love, and all your dreams can come true 🙂

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      That’s a great legacy, LJ! Honesty is a rare commodity. Sometimes it can be a bit painful, but I’ve found those painful moments are usually when I grow the most. Happy Mother’s Day, my friend!

  3. ramblingsfromamum says:

    A beautiful tribute to an exceptional woman. You are very proud of her and that’s all a mum could ask for, knowing that what they have done in the nurturing years can be acknowledged. A thank you along the way, a hug means so much more than a gift. I have learnt honesty and compassion from my mother. I have learnt to be the best I can be and to hold friends true. Being a mother? I could go on forever. There is love equally there is pain but an experience that I would not trade for anything in the world. My two girls are my world and I would lay my life down for them. Thank you for the songs also, I always get teary hearing this. I am happy my mother is still with me, that I could celebrate Mother’s Day. I hadn’t heard I’ll be… and more tears xx

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      I expect that the world will always need more honesty & compassion. They are such vital lessons. I’m glad to know your mom taught you these lovely gifts that you share with us. As for being a mother…I guess it would be bittersweet. It must be hard to watch your children fall down & make mistakes…and equally rewarding to watch them pick themselves up. Thanks for sharing, my friend.

  4. filbio says:

    That’s a really nice post and tribute to your mom. So much can be said of all those great moms out there everywhere. You always notice in sports the camera catches the athlete saying “hi mom” !

  5. amadiex says:

    Well written, you represented her well! I laughed a bit when you talked about her “spiking” your sisters drink! I can totally see your mom there! She did a great job with you and your sister with all the odds she had to face being a single parent. She is a tough, genuine and beautiful lady! I know you guys make her proud!!!!

  6. Debra Kristi says:

    Beautiful and real, Kitt. I can’t imagine what OJ tastes like with fish oil. I don’t think I want to. Being a single mom takes a lot of strength. I think she passed that on to you as well.

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      LOL! Yeah, I expect it wasn’t very good as my sister quickly spit it up in the sink and told my mom she thought maybe the OJ had gone bad. I was too busy laughing hysterically to be any help.

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