Things my mother taught me…

By Anita Manley

In December 2013, at the age of 87, my mom passed away from cancer. I was 48 years old. I miss her dearly and often wish I could pick up the phone to share some exciting news. My mom died peacefully, on her own terms. She had a strong faith in God and was anxious to be reunited with her husband, my dad.

I had a wonderful mom and dad. My husband, Ron always says, “you won the adoption lottery”. It is true, I did!

I decided to make a list (certainly not exhaustive) of all the things I remember my mom teaching me. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. “Be a leader, not a follower.”
  2. “Always say your pleases and thank yous. Be polite.” (How to write thank you notes and address an envelope).
  3. A strong work ethic.
  4. “Be punctual.”
  5. Volunteerism and giving to those in need.
  6. How to knit and sew.
  7. “Patience is a virtue.” (One that I have had to work on my entire life).
  8. “Don’t worry about things beyond your control.” (I’ve only recently got a handle on this one.)
  9. How to entertain (and with that, how to cook and bake)
  10. “Be respectful and honest.”
  11. “Be thrifty.” (always look for the sales)
  12. Always buy a good, new mattress and new, comfortable, and stylish shoes. Never go second hand on these two.
  13. Be stylish on a budget.
  14. “Only spend what you can afford.” (I used to be known for my champagne taste on a beer budget)
  15. “You’ll be lucky if you can count true friends on one hand.”
  16. Be happy!
  17. Sing out loud!
  18. The importance of a daily routine.
  19. Make your bed every morning as soon as you get up.
  20. Brush your teeth and floss regularly.
  21. “You’ve got to give credit where credit is due.”
  22. “Relationships are 50/50. If they don’t work out, it is never only one person’s fault.”
  23. Through my mom’s belief in religion (Catholicism) and God, I became spiritual. (Which I am now told will help me with my recovery– yes, I am still in recovery!)
  24. My mom modeled smiling at strangers.
  25. “Be friendly with neighbours.”
  26. How to be a good, loving, caring and nurturing mom. (Sadly, for many years, due to my illness, I was unable to be all of these things to my two daughters. They do tell me that I am making up for lost time now, though.)
  27. “Where there is a will, there is a way.”
  28. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”
My mom taught me many, many things… including how to bake. She made the best Scottish shortbread. I’ve passed this recipe and method onto my daughters. We all gather together, in-person and virtually, to make it every Christmas.

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