1. Do your best and be proud of it.
There are phrases that our parents repeat, good and bad; that stick with us forever. I was really bad at math and sports. Before a big test or game my mom would always say, “Do your very best and I am proud of you no matter what.” Now, when I feel incapable, overwhelmed or just plain bad at something; this echoes through my heart. It has been engrained of a part of who I am.
2. A new outfit can fix almost anything.
We weren’t always the best at saying we were sorry after a big fight. Sometimes I didn’t want to speak to her, or she didn’t want to speak to me. Her unspoken act of love was to lay a something new on my bed. That was her olive branch. It usually worked.
3. Mamas don’t give up on their babies.
My mama’s love knows no limits. I told her I hated her. I told her she embarrassed me. She would tell me one day I would think differently. I ran away at least 3 times. I made mistakes. She glued my screens shut. I slammed my door. She took it off the hinges. With my brother and me, she has seen it all. She prayed like it was her job and she always took us back. She always showed up. Nothing we have done or will do will ever change the way she loves us.
4. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.
I don’t know if it’s the generations of thick-skinned Texans that come before us or if it’s just engrained in our family nature, but in our house actions were the highest expression of love. The power of this in my life has translated to replace the offer of “let me know how I can help you” with the understanding of what it means to go ahead and show up to help. I was raised to see the power of being there beside people in the ups and downs of life, even if all I can do is hold their hand or buy them a Dr. Pepper.
5. Look for treasures in unlikely places.
Everything the woman touches turns to treasure. She can make almost anything beautiful. In her eyes, there is no such thing as junk. She sees it all with an untapped potential just waiting to be discovered and made into something new.
Through high school and college I brought friends home by the droves. My mom always had the best food so our house was oftentimes the place we all landed. True to who I am, everyone I brought home was “my new best friend” or “love of my life.” Every time I gushed, she relentlessly asked me the exact same question, “Do they have a good character?” I usually had nothing to say. Character trumps everything.
7. Jesus and country music are the best companions.
My mom had us in church every time the door was open. Her Bible was tattered and highlighted. She prayed like no woman I have ever seen. She modeled for me what it meant to follow Jesus with every ounce of her being. Simultaneously, she gave me a deep love for a music that told parts of our story best through voices like Garth, Reba, Willie, King George and Wynonna. Country songs are the soundtracks to every season of my life while Jesus is the unwavering constant.
We consider our hair stylists to be like family. They have a big job to do to keep us blonde and ready to conquer the world. When I moved to Nashville, finding a “hair girl” was the very first priority. I have built lasting relationships with every hair stylist I have ever had. They are considered saints in my book. After all, you know what they say, the higher the hair the closer to God.
9. You can do more than you think you can.
Her work ethic is stronger than nearly anyone I know. Her provision and grit have a special way of impressing you while challenging you all at the same time. Time and time again, I’ve watched her decide to put down the label of victim and pick up the crown of a fighter. And just when you think your threshold might be maxed, sit with her for 5 minutes and the mountains you are facing will look like grains of sand.
10. Don’t let failures define you. Get back up, dust yourself off, put on your lipstick and keep on stepping forward.
Life is not measured by how many times we fall, but by how many times we get back up to reframe those experiences as a catalyst to grow. It is the willingness to fail and be refined in the process that truly determines the course of our lives. This has been played out like a movie reel for me since I was a little girl. This is my favorite thing about my mama. My only hope is that I can do this as gracefully in my life as she has in hers.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.
“All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother” – Abraham Lincoln