The Things My Mother Taught Me

Today is Mother's Day. And I wish that I could beam myself to Virginia to give my mom a hug. I am so grateful that while I can't be there in person, I will be able to call and talk to my mom today.

Michele Daussin Doss was a child when she had me. She had turned 23 just 11 days prior to my birth and had been married for just shy of a year. She was a baby herself.

My Mom, My MauMau and Me. 1981.

I mean - look at her. She looks like the proud big sister in this picture! Add my dad to this photo and you would be sure it was an episode of Teen Mom 1980. My grandmother is a hot ticket too, but that's another blog post.

And today, like many other days in life, I am grateful for what my mother taught me. My mom gave up her 20s so that I could be successful in mine. She turned lemons into lemonade and found ways to stretch a dollar so far that I never noticed that there were not a lot of dollars to begin with. She partnered with my dad to raise three children on earth, and one in heaven. And my two brothers are the other precious gifts she gave to me.

Already sassy, and likely bossing Ryan around, 1986. Jordan wasn't even born yet.

She taught us to be kind - in words, in thoughts, and in our actions. And this wasn't easy. But it has stayed with us and it makes us better participants in the world.

She desperately wanted us to be ourselves. And although this meant that we sometimes swam against the currents, she was deeply supportive of the individuality that we each possessed. We were encouraged to dance like no one was watching (just maybe not dance class because I was really NOT into that, but other things for sure). As I have grown into myself these past few years, discovered a love for yoga and a deeper sense of my own individual spirit, my mom has supported me every step of the way. I still credit her with giving me the courage to do many things in life that are scary or difficult. In her eyes, we would always be successful. It is amazing how someone's confidence in you directs your actions.

Some of my favorite memories with my mom are snow days when we didn't have to go to school, and after playing outside in the snow, we got to have hot chocolate and watch reruns of I Love Lucy while we napped together. Whenever I see snow, I think of those moments. I can feel my robe and the way the couch felt and the warmth inside after the snow. And it's home and it's my mom in that moment.

My mom succeeded in raising us in a crazy world while letting us retain a sense of wonder and play. And maybe she retained a little bit of it too:

She also raised us with a sense of caution and awareness that the world is not always safe. It has made me a great underwriter of insurance and has probably kept her three children out of significant trouble. In all seriousness, as my mom says, there are a lot sickos out there who get their jollies out of hurting kids like you - and so you should be aware.

Perhaps, this picture is a cautionary tale:

Mom was protecting the kids in this one.
My mom also made sure that we were exposed to another set of mothers by keeping our family close to hers. My Aunt Therese, and my Maumau were two strong female influences in my life that were there because my mom made sure we had a larger support system than just our family.

This year, more than ever, I am aware of how proud I am of my mother. She has done so much in her life! For the difficult task of raising three kids (plus my dad), and for the even more difficult task of letting each of us become our own person. This year was a doozy for her. I packed up my house and moved to California, and in two weeks she will be celebrating the graduation of two sons from college.

But this year, her first in retirement, my mom found time to become a world class runner. Some people would have done a couch to 5k, cheered about it, and finished. My mom not only started running - she became a runner. She places. Who places in a race???? I have never, ever stepped on the start line and said, hey, maybe I'll WIN SOMETHING. But she did - with just shy of a year of experience. It is a testament to the fact that you never know what you might be awesome at - until you try.

This medal my mom ACTUALLY won. As in - she placed.

Note that my medal - everyone got this one if you finished. But she is still proud of me!

She volunteers her time to her church almost every day, and is helping a whole new round of kids learn to read and love school.

And when she is not running, reading, helping, or hanging out with my dad, she is providing shelter and support to the Doss kids. As she always has, and she always will.

For the constant that you are, Mom - my shelter from the storm - I love you.

If you teach your children just one thing, teach them to love Disney.

Happy Mother's Day!