Mothers hold a special place in our hearts. Not only because they gave us life, but because they were our first teachers. Mothers are there when we learn to walk and talk, encouraging us as we conquer each milestone. As we grow older, many lessons are learned by observation. From my mother I learned to love roses and color; the joy of surrounding myself with things that I found beautiful. She taught be to sew and I learned to cook by watching her in the kitchen. But some of the best lessons I learned were from her harsh rebukes.
I recall one day informing my mother that I was bored. She responded with irritation that “People who are bored are boring people.” Harsh criticism for a young teenager. But I took her words to heart and learned how to entertain myself. My teens years were filled with music, listening to some of my favorite artists, of which Heart and Pat Benetar topped the list. I took piano and voice lessons and and spent hours upon hours practicing to become proficient. I became an avid reader and journal writer. For exercise, I would often ride my bike for miles. One of my friends and I developed our own language as a way to keep other kids on the bus from listening in on our conversations. The days were full.
The lesson learned from those words voiced decades ago have made my shelter in place time bearable. I have taken advantage of the time to push forward hard on the second draft of my upcoming novel Roses & Rebels. When I’m not writing, I have a long list of books to read, a host of new recipes to try, play the piano and reach out to friends I haven’t been in touch with recently. Jigsaw puzzles are great for keeping my mind engaged and challenged. I have finally gotten around to learning how to make artisan bread, and now I am awaiting my supplies so I can start painting, something I have often dreamed about doing but never had the time. I plan to come out of this experience knowing that I used my time productively to enhance my life.
Another moment of insight came when I confided to my mother my concern about what people might think of something I had done. “Don’t worry, they don’t think about you that much.” Ouch! But it held a kernel of truth that changed my life. Being honest with myself, how much time did I spend thinking about any specific person? Other than close friends and family, mostly I focused on myself. About what I wanted. How many acquaintances had I not thought about for weeks at a time? It was freeing. If others didn’t give much thought to how I conducted my life, why live my life worrying about what others thought of me? I began to live my life on my own terms, dressing the way I wanted to dress, going where I wanted to go, saying what I wanted to say and not worrying about the consequences. I don’t like everyone, and, no matter how hard I might try, not everyone is going to like me. I accept that and I’m a whole lot happier being true to myself.
I’d love you to share valuable lessons your mother taught you in the comments. We can all benefit from their words of wisdom.
C.V. Lee writes historical biographical fiction featuring forgotten heroes and heroines of the past. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Alli, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. You can find her on Facebook @cvlee.histficwriter and on Instagram @cvleewriter.