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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Somebody's Hero - Precious Memories 21

She's somebody's hero 
A hero to her daughter in her wedding dress 
She gave her wings to leave the nest 
It hurts to let her baby go down the aisle 
 She walks right by 
Looks back into her mother's eyes 
And that smile lets her know 
She's somebody's hero 
 Thirty years have flown right past 
Her daughters' starin' at all the photographs 
Of her mother, and she wishes she could be like that 
Oh, but she already is 
 She's somebody's hero 
A hero to her mother in a rockin' chair 
She runs a brush through her silver hair 
The envy of the nursing home 
She drops by every afternoon 
Feeds her mama with a spoon 
And that smile lets her know 
Her mother's smile lets her know 
She's somebody's hero 
 Somebody’s Hero – Jamie O’Neal 

My mother was what I consider a true hero, yet only a very few ever knew who she was.

She never marketed herself on social media. She never had a blog, vlog, or a YouTube channel. She didn’t seek out “likes” or the approval of others. She didn’t need a following to feel good about herself. She quietly ministered to her family at home, out of the public eye. No rewards or accolades. 

She never traveled the world, waving her “social justice” flag for all to see. She wasn’t the type to “humblebrag.” She didn’t talk about herself, under the guise of false modesty or humility. She was never interviewed by the media, nor invited to appear as a guest speaker anywhere. She just quietly lived, and served others. In a world where it seems like many are determined to outshine others, she simply glowed.

I never once heard my mom complain about what she didn’t have. She taught me that “the best things in life, aren’t the things.” She had her priorities straight and knew what was important. She knew what mattered. She didn’t keep up with the Joneses and always seemed content to me. She taught me to hold my head up high and be confident. Not proud or haughty, mind you, but not to feel ashamed of what I didn’t have. She was secure enough not to covet what her friends had. She also didn’t judge them for what they didn’t have. I look back and am so thankful for the fact that my mom was not materialistic.

Our home was a home, not a shrine. You could say she was a minimalist, I suppose. In high school I had a friend who loved coming to my house. At her house (which was actually a mansion) she couldn’t sit on the leather sofa or touch the pretty Fabrege' Eggs, locked in large, ornate glass cases. She couldn’t relax really, in a mansion that resembled a museum. Hired hands took care of the pool, the laundry, and the lawn.

My house? You could put your feet right up on the couch, stretch out, and get cozy. Just mind your manners and take off your shoes first. Feel free to grab a blanket if you’re chilly.

My mom was clean, but not a neat freak. She enjoyed her home, but didn’t worship it. We lived there, and by that I mean we shared our life there. We made memories there. She didn’t try to keep up with the latest trends, fads, or styles. She didn’t compete with other women or try to impress others. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t unkempt by any means.

She took care of herself but didn’t obsess over the latest who was wearing what. She was just herself. Instead of fancy expensive perfume she usually smelled like baby powder and Downy. A clean soft smell, that to me you could never bottle and put a price on.

What you saw was what you got, take it or leave it.   Most people who met her, chose to take it. 

She was funny, infectious and a bit mischevious at times. My mother was also fiercely loyal. She and her next door neighbor were the best of friends for over 30 something years. In all my years growing up, I never once heard my mother utter a negative comment about her friend. No backstabbing, no gossip. She demonstrated true friendship and loyalty, which is hard to come by these days. I try to be that kind of friend, based on her example. It’s one of the many things I loved about her.

She taught me that a quantity of friends doesn’t automatically equate to high quality friends. Growing up, I didn’t realize how little we had, because my mom never pointed it out or grumbled. I didn’t grow up feeling like I was poor or missing out. Our home was chock full of contentment. We had a roof over our head, enough food to feel satisfied, good books, and each other. I didn’t know to wish for more. I wasn’t aware that I was missing out on anything. I thought digging up potatoes fresh out of the garden, was fun! I loved walking up to our garden and pulling softball size tomatoes warmed by the sun for dinner. No fancy steakhouse for us. Fresh vegetable dinners were the highlight of my summers.

The best things she gave me, weren’t the “things” at all. It was more a sense of being thankful and having gratitude. Satisfied with the simple. Secure in who I was. She made our time count. She also taught me that money doesn’t buy class or contentment. 

My mother worked for several multi-millionaires and would often come home, shaking her head about how they complained, bickered, and argued over nothing. “Big homes and fancy cars don’t make for happy.” she’d tell me.

I grew up in a home that wasn’t fancy at all. It wasn’t the nicest or the newest on the street. We only had one car, while many families had two.

And yet I still never heard her complain. 

We didn’t take fancy vacations. I never saw Disney World until I was 21 and went with a friend. I didn’t think to pout or whine over what we didn’t have, because I honestly had a pretty satisfying childhood. We spent the summers with my grandma, miserably hot and sticky, deep in the heat of the south.

I relished those trips. As a result of this meager, simple upbringing, I am somewhat of a minimalist today. I don’t need the newest, latest, or most expensive. I’m content to shop at the thrift store, and the finest of yard sales. I don’t yearn for stuff, or follow the fads and trends.

Oh don’t get me wrong, even with that strong foundation, I still grumble and complain sometimes. I have my days. There are things about my current situation that would greatly improve with more money coming in.

But what my mother gave me in the way of life lessons, has more value to me than any bank account I could ever own.

  *The Precious Memories posts you read here, are dedicated to my mother who battled Alzheimer's. I share snippets of our story, and some things I learned along the way.  

You can start reading our story from the beginning here:
Precious Memories 1 

You can read my last Precious Memories post here:
Name Calling - Precious Memories 20

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