Yesterday my mom finally decided she’d rather hang out with my papa in heaven than listen to my inappropriate and self deprecating jokes (I don’t blame her). After a long two years of fighting like hell against metastatic breast cancer, she’s finally at peace. She never wanted her passing to be a sad one, so instead of a sad post, I decided to instill some of her wisdom in hopes that it may help you as much as it has shaped me. Here’s a few things my mom taught me.
When guys aren’t with you they aren’t thinking about you.
In high school, I’d get upset when I didn’t hear from a crush quickly. My mom explained that men and women have very different thought processes. When a woman is head over heels for a guy, in some way he’s always in her thoughts. She’s at the grocery store- and she’s thinking about what kind of doritos he likes. She’s at the gym- and she’s thinking how cute he would look in a cut off tee-shirt. She’s at work- and she’s thinking about what cologne he wears. When a man is really into a girl and he’s at the grocery store- he’s thinking about the grocery store. When he’s at the gym- he’s thinking about finishing this set. And when he’s at work- he’s thinking about getting his work done. When they’re with you, you’re probably front and center of his thought process; don’t sweat if you’re not on their mind around the clock. While I’m sure my mom wanted to manage my expectations, I think this was just an early lesson in men being idiots.
You get one day to mourn a heartbreak.
Every time one of the ‘oh so eligible’ high school boys of Toledo, Ohio (I know you’re drooling just at the thought) broke my heart, my mom always said I had 24 hours (48 at most) to be upset. Because that’s all they deserved. 24 hours and I should be back giggling, running around Start High School with my best friend Lauren, happy as can be like nothing happened. At the end of the day she said that’s all they deserved and the focus turned away from the boy, towards what was really important, me.
Calling your best friend in the middle of the night.
I can tell you all of my mom’s best friends, from childhood through adulthood. Because not only did she keep great company, she kept them for a very long time. While friendship gets hard, life happens, people lose touch; my mom always told me that if you called someone at 2 in the morning asking them for a gallon of milk, a true friend would bring it to you no questions asked. And I believe her. If she called her best friend Diane all the way in Kalamazoo, Michigan and said “Di, I need a gallon of milk right now” the doorbell would ring 3 hours later and there would be Diane with a gallon of 2%. Would she actually call and do that, well, let’s not put anything past Kellie. To my friends- at least make it almond milk.
When something’s not right, god throws a brick on your head.
I’m not much of a believer in god, I’d consider myself much more spiritual than anything. However, I was raised in a very god-loving family. I grew up listening to Christian music, going to church, and praying before dinner. I’ve always been one to rely on my intuition, and my mom always said that she was very lucky to have a god that throws a brick on her head when something is wrong. Even when my mom was first diagnosed, she went to the doctor simply because she was feeling “out of it.” While we thought nothing of the tiny differences, my mom felt a brick on her head.
Never get a tattoo that you’ll see in your wedding dress.
Well, this one is more ironic than ever. Hopefully this may do more for you, your children, etc. than it did for me. The thought is there, but if somehow I do end up in a pretty white dress (not likely), prepare to see my pretty tattoos right along with it.
Look for a man’s potential, find a ‘diamond in the rough.’
My mom was always very realistic when it came to talking to us about dating and relationships. She was the type of person to always find the good in someone regardless of the scary exterior. Being young and having my fair share of men that just weren’t where I was in life, she always said to look for the diamond in the rough. You fall in love with a boy, but by seeing the man he will become.
Soften your edges.
This is the hard one to write about. My mom was one of the “softest” people I’ve ever known. She had the ability to mold herself to whoever she was around and be just the right amount of Kellie. She was very honest about her feelings and emotions (which she had a lot of) and had no problem being fully vulnerable when she needed to be. I on the other hand am exactly the opposite. I keep most of my feelings inside, refuse to be vulnerable, and most of the time if you cross me, that’s the end of that. I don’t like putting myself out there for people to hurt me, and in turn I tend to be very closed off. Ever since I was younger (I even remember her saying this to me in junior high) my mom has told me to soften my edges; to not be so hard. While this is something I’ve been told now for over a decade, I fail at it regularly. It’s something I’m working on.
I Will Survive.
Without getting into details of the before and after, when I was in the 6th grade the man who had raised me, who had become known as ‘dad’ and my mom got a divorce. My sister and I both reacted in our own ways, which were very different because it was her actual father. My mom? She flourished. For Christmas that year we had bought her a compilation CD (remember those?) of 70s music. I personally cannot stand disco for the life of me, but I’ll always remember the most important song on that disc: ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor. My mom would come into our room every single night and sing it to us. To this day I still remember every single word, and no matter how many times I hear that terribly cliche song on the radio, I’m reminded of the woman my mom raised me to be. More importantly, I’m reminded that I, too, will survive.
My mom was never one to leave things on a sad note, so I’ll end this post with a playlist of all the incredible songs that remind me of her. Love you more, mom.