As the final blog entry of my 3-part “Happy Birthday, Mom” blog set, I wanted to write about three quality lessons my mother taught me through the example of her actions, words, and beliefs. To be entirely honest, it was hard to pick only three to write about. Here they are…
1.) Giving / Selflessness
One of the things you’ll learn about my mom is that she has one of the most generous hearts in the world. On countless occasions, I’ve heard her ask people “How can I bless you, today?” be it her children, family, friends, or complete strangers. When you step foot inside of the Plaat household in Ohio, it’s very hard to walk away without having been given something by my mom. A gift, meal, item, or compliment is standard fare for leaving that home.
Her acts of giving are never accompanied by thoughts or motivations for receiving (though it always seemed my dad to have been the more transactional type). I’ve seen her open her doors to complete strangers who needed a safe household to get back on their feet, a small handful of children from a traveling African children’s choir, and a plethora of pets who needed a loving home. Her doors have always been open.
Even in small ways, my mom is the type to give gifts from the heart that are capable of making even a grown man smile, laugh, or cry. As I moved away from Ohio, she frequently sent me cards and small gifts in the mail to remind me of the continued love she had for me, in spite of the distance (and differences) between us.
Her example is living proof that our hearts can, in fact, grow and expand through the action of giving generously to others.
The laughter and smile my mother has is something that simply can’t be hidden. I’ve witnessed her go through many difficult life situations that should have made her buckle or stress, while maintaining a positive attitude and complexion. Even on days where she and I speak where I can tell she is frazzled and exhausted, she still takes the time to share her love and appreciation to let you know that the conversation made her day and put a smile on her face.
She’s taught me that joy/happiness is contagious to those around you. Sometimes your smile and laughter is exactly the remedy somebody needed during a rough day. Other times, it’s a small reminder and glimmer of hope that better days are coming.
One of my favorite things to witness is when my mom hears a joke she knows she shouldn’t be laughing at – for a plethora of reasons – but you get to witness as her pursed lips explode into a delightful laugh as tears stream down her face from not being able to contain herself.
The love of a mother is something that can’t be contained or explained with words. It’s a living, breathing emotion that has the ability to do the seemingly impossible task.
Watching as she has poured her heart out for her family, and others, over the years has been a display that love is an endless source of abundance that will continue to grow as you allow it to be displayed to those whom you love. With her, it’s as if you were to take a bucket of water and pour it over a field; never needing to be refilled as it is replenished internally, leaving behind a growing field of seeds that will sprout over time.
Her love has also shown me an active example of forgiveness, acceptance, and the ability to let bygones by bygones. This isn’t to say that we haven’t had our disagreements or turbulent situations. However, her and I have always been able to make things right and return to a foundation of love and forgiveness when looking back at these examples.
She did a remarkable job of showing the many facets of love, as various situations required different displays of love and compassion. She also displayed to me that love doesn’t always make for beautiful love story situations – as it sometimes enters difficult and ugly situations. Yet, it was her heart of love that was able to turn these situations around into incredible stories of redemption and victory.
As a son, it is sometimes hard to realize that as I grow older, my mom is also growing older. We sometimes take our parents/family for granted and forget to realize what a treasure they can be if we allow ourselves to invest into the relationship and strengthen it. Sometimes it isn’t a two-way street within family; where the other person doesn’t want to foster this relationship. That’s life.
I can look back on the 26 years of my son-mother relationship and easily point out many less-than-perfect moments we shared. However, I am grateful that her and I have been able to grow from these situations and develop a strong bond that has spanned thousands of miles.
What i can say is that I’m ever thankful for my mom and her willingness to invest in the lives of her children. She’s been a pivotal part of shaping me into the man I am today and am grateful her and I are able to maintain this bond.
Featured Image From Deviantart