My mom taught me some critical things. My love of roses. A zero tolerance policy regarding disrespect from men. To indulge my curiosity. To make pie crust. And then, there are some things Mom definitely did not teach me: anything to do with sex or the female reproductive system, for example. Or how to cook. She also once advised me to NOT learn to type, 'cause then I'd be stuck in the steno pool. (bad call, Ma....)
Recently, I attended the memorial of the mother of a good friend. She was lauded and remembered as the best of mothers, a lady who alway set a gracious table and instilled good manners in her five boys. She was sweet, yet firm; a master-practitioner of "parental judo". These sort of skills and duties aren't gonna save the planet or cure cancer. They merely change the world in small, yet vital ways. To teach a young man that it is unacceptable to plunk a mayonnaise jar on the table, or chew with his mouth open, may not save his life, but it may land him a job, or impress any future in-laws.
My mother-in-law, a.k.a. "Super Gra-Maw" has taught me a lot about parenting. Her patience is legendary. (hi, Terry!) (hi, Trevor!) She, too, has a black belt in parental judo. To watch her handle my twin 4-years olds is to stand in awe of the master. She also has standards that she expects to be met. For instance, it drives the poor woman mad when the trash bins are left out in front of the house.
Then there are my children. Honestly, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that I am a mother. I have to remind myself to model good behavior and manners, to eat my veggies, etc. Sometimes it really is a major drag having to be the grownup. You cannot just react to things, you gotta think 'em through and respond appropriately. There are times I just wanna flop on the sofa and eat something from a bowl, but I can't. And now I have to make my bed every morning, because I'm attempting to teach the wee lassies to make theirs. Although, Claire has an advanced technique to deal with the new chore. She refuses to sleep under the covers. She doesn't want to have to deal with the sheets in the morning.