Lesson One: Mending a broken heart takes time. And chocolate. My first real break up happened when I was 22 years old. I had been dating the boy in question for about four and a half years, but during the last six months of our relationship, he attended a medical school three hours from our hometown. One thing lead to another, and one night after too much rum and too little sleep, something happened with his Gross Anatomy lab partner. Over Christmas break he confessed what had happened and broke up with me. And he broke my heart while he was at it.
The first person I ran to that awful night was my mom. I laid in bed with her for hours and wept bitter tears while she rubbed my forehead. She told me everything would be okay, that and although it felt like my heart was being torn into tiny pieces, the pain would fade with time.
She was right.
Lesson Two: Tell the truth. It’s much easier to keep up with than your lies. In my 26 years, I’ve made too many mistakes to name. Every time I’ve screwed up, I hear a little voice whispering in my ear, “Be honest. Lying is never worth it.” That voice is always my mother’s.
Lesson Three: It’s okay to admit when you’re wrong. In the grand tradition of the prideful, I don’t like to admit when I’m wrong. From the age of 12 until age 22, I was constantly informed that I did not, in fact, know everything. It still pains me to admit it, but almost every time I heard this, my mother was right. And you know what? She doesn’t even lord that over my head.
Lesson Four: She who cooks should not have to clean up. I had a pretty idyllic childhood, and for that I am thankful. Growing up, though, you would have thought that I was brought up working on a chain gang.
Every night after dinner, my brother, sister, and I were responsible for cleaning the kitchen. One of us carried the dishes to the sink and cleaned the counters, one of us washed the dishes and loaded the dishwasher, and one of us swept the floor. We fought like drowning rats to avoid it. Every. Single. Night. After all, we had better things to do. Like watch The Simpsons. And ignore each other.
To this day, I can’t stand a dirty kitchen.
Lesson Five: Sometimes it’s just gas. Everyone knows that I’m not the calmest, most rational person in the world. The moment the doctor placed my son on my chest, every shred of common sense I possessed flew out of my head. Taking home a tiny human being and being responsible for everything he needed was absolutely the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced.
Over time and many panicked phone calls late at night, my mom taught me that not every little whimper meant that we needed to pack up and head for the emergency room. Is he wet? Is he hungry? Bleeding? Feverish? Missing a limb? No? Then it’s probably just gas. Give him some gas drops and CALM DOWN.
Lesson Six: Because I’m the mom, that’s why! Some decisions just don’t need to be explained.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You’re my best friend, an amazing role model, and greatest mom a girl could ever hope for. I love you!
And Happy Mother’s Day to all of you! Today it’s perfectly okay to excuse yourself to the bathroom when the dishes need to be done. That’s what you had kids for, after all.