10 Lessons My Mom Taught Me

10 Lessons My Mom Taught Me

She’s not entirely wrong about life and the lessons she’s taught me.
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It’s no secret that my mom is my best friend. We have a unique relationship that not all mothers and daughters get to have, and I feel very blessed to have such. Throughout the 23 years of life she’s given me, she has taught me so many valuable lessons that have stuck with me to this day. The best part is that she’s still continuing to teach me valuable lessons every day.

In honor of the amazing woman she is, and the thought-provoking lessons she’s given me, here are my top 10 useful and favorite ones.

1. No one likes a frugal person

The best type of people are those that are most giving. Whether it is the shirt off of your back, or treating someone out to dinner, the act of giving can take you a long way. For those that don’t really believe so, it can be seen as an act of selfishness, and greed. And those are not the type of people one should be surrounding themselves with.

2. To have a friend you need to be a friend

Friendship is a 2-way street. Both parties must put in the effort for the friendship to be successful. This doesn’t have to be done so just with the act of giving and simply spoiling one another, but rather being there for the other person. And investing your full support as a friend and confidante.

3. Always stick to your skincare routine

Wrinkles start forming at the age of 18. So it’s never too early to start fighting the negative side effects of old age. But when you stick to a healthy skin care routine which ALWAYS should include taking off your makeup at night, you will have healthy glowing skin. And what girl doesn’t want that?!

4. Never show up to someone’s house empty-handed

When invited to someone’s house for any social function, it is always customary to show up with something to give them. This can be a bottle of wine, a cake, or even flowers. Bringing something for them to keep is a sign of gratitude for having you over.

5. Thank you cards are mandatory

Another sign of showing your gratitude is none other than the old-fashioned, handwritten thank you cards. It’s a simple act but can mean so much when you express your feelings an appreciativeness through written words. And doing so in a timely fashion is what is most appropriate. That, will never go out of style.

6. Just because something looks good does not mean you look good in it

In other words, dress to what is most flattering to you. Just because something is absolutely stunning doesn’t mean you should wear it if it’s not fitting to you. Figure out alternates, and dress to what’s comfortable. And when in doubt, black is always a slim-fitting color on everyone!

7. If the dish has garlic in it, pick it

As a garlic fanatic, my mother has taught me that as a non-fattening ingredient it can make the blandest of dishes turn into the most flavorful. If it requires more than one clove, put as much as you want. It doesn’t hurt to overindulge in it.

8. Always say I love you

You never know when your last chance will occur to tell someone you love them. And even if you’re upset with them, say it like you mean it because something tragic could happen in the blink of an eye. And no one. I mean no one. Wants to live with that guilt for the rest of their lives.

9. Moisturize

Your 70 something-year-old self will be so thankful you started early.

10. Everything happens for a reason

This may be the most important piece of advice that has stuck with me through the time my mom has been a mom. She has justified every negative occurrence in my life as later resulting in being a reason to have occurred. This piece has gotten me through the darkest of times and has proved that there is ALWAYS a light at the end of the tunnel waiting for me.

So although I sometimes want to roll my eyes and never want to admit my mother is right. She sometimes has some pretty valuable pieces of information. She’s not entirely wrong about life and the lessons she’s taught me. And in fact, this is just a small handful of things I’ll end up teaching my kids and passing down generations to come.

Cover Image Credit: Cheyenne Wong

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An Open Letter To My Unexpected Best Friend

You came out of nowhere and changed my life for the better.
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“It's so amazing when someone comes to your life and you expect nothing out of it, but suddenly, there right in front of you is everything you ever need."

-Unknown

Dear Unexpected Best Friend,

You were the person I never thought I would speak to and now you are my very best friend. You came out of nowhere and changed my life for the better. I can't thank you enough for everything you have done to shape me into the person I am today. You've taught me what it means to be selfless, caring, patient, and, more importantly, adventurous.

You don't realize how much better my life has become and all because you came out of nowhere. I didn't see you coming. I just saw you on occasion, and now I can't see my life without you in it. It's funny how life works itself out like that. Our unexpected friendship filled a hole in my life that I didn't know existed.

I don't even remember what life was like before you came along; it most likely had a lot less laughter and spontaneity than it does today. I can call you about anything and you would drop whatever you're doing to help me in any situation. You know when I need encouragement. You know when I am at my best and when I am at my worst. You always know exactly what to say.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

I couldn't have found a better friend than you if I tried. We balance each other out in the best way possible. You are most definitely the yin to my yang, and I don't care how cliché that sounds. Because of you, I've learned to stop caring what people think and to do my own thing regardless of any backlash I might receive. You are my very favorite part of what makes me who I am to this day.

It's as if I wished up a best friend, and poof — you appeared right in front of me. I am so beyond blessed to have you and I wouldn't trade the world for all our memories. Thanks for coming out of nowhere.

Love you forever and a day.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Medders

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We All Need An 'In Color' Conversation, While We Still Can

The best way to keep memories is to pass them down.

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I love country music, especially a little older country music that tells a true story. One of my favorite songs from any genre is "In Color" by Jamey Johnson. It's one of the most relatable songs for anyone from any background. As you listen to it you feel the descriptions and the emotions Johnson is trying to get across.

Jamey Johnson - In Color YouTube

The song starts out with a grandkid asking about a picture and if it's his granddad. A simple question that can start a vast conversation and pass down memories of old times. This specific picture causes the grandfather to start speaking on the tough times in the 1930s and life on a cotton farm. For me, I can feel the same way that Johnson felt hearing the memories his grandfather passed down to him because my grandfather has told me the same memories about growing up in the south in the 1930s on a large piece of farmland.

The second verse goes into the grandfather showing a picture of him and his tail gunner Johnny McGee. He gives the information that McGee is a teacher from New Orleans and he had his back throughout the war. Though my granddad has never gone into anything that happened overseas in Korea, he will tell you stories for days about Camp Roberts in California. There's even a large picture of Camp Roberts hanging in his house. It's understandable he won't talk about what happened overseas because some Veterans will just tuck it away and it's how they handle it; however, hearing the tales about his basic training, his time on a boat headed overseas, and seeing pictures in his uniform still mean a lot to me.

My favorite story he talks about is how he was used to running the fields on a farm just outside Phenix City and was used to running in the heat, but the guys from up north(especially Chicago and New York) would drop like flies from the dry California heat.

The third and final verse describes a picture from their wedding. According to the granddad, it was a hot June that year before telling how red the rose was and how blue her eyes were. For most anyone, you will hear about your grandparents' wedding day and possibly see some pictures. My granddad to this day still talks about how blonde my grandmother was back then. It just helps bring my emotions more into the song.

The one thing Johnson does say in the song that most people feel when hearing these stories or looking at black and white pictures is "A pictures worth a thousand words, but you can't see what those shades of gray keep covered, you should have seen it in color." There's a lot of stories I've heard from either my parents or grandparents and wished I could have been there.

The music video for the song is so simple as well yet one of the best music videos I have ever seen. It starts in Black and white with Jamey Johnson sitting on a stool playing an acoustic guitar surrounded by hundreds of black and white pictures. It just brings the entire vibe of the song together. After the second chorus, the video starts to change from black and white to colorized and you see the pictures in their true colors.

The first time I had a true "In Color" conversation my step-granddad on my mom's side who was the only granddad I had known for that side of the family was declining in health. I was 9 or 10 and an in-home nurse had been talking to him about all his life experiences and told me to go in and talk to my Paw Paw about them. I learned about his father died when he was 14 by getting kicked by a mule and about his many years of service in the National Guard. At that time I never realized how major that was but as I look back those are the moments I cherish and I will pass down those memories as well as the numerous times he'd run your feet over with his electric scooter.

In eighth grade, I did a project on my dad's father and pulled out a box of old black and white pictures. These pictures ranged from him as a boy, his great grandfather, his first car, him in his service uniform, on up to him in suits on his business trips for the Columbus mills. I was older then and around the time I cherished learning more about his life and wish I knew where that box was just to have a look again.

A couple years ago around my 21st birthday, I had an "In Color" conversation with my mother about my dad looking through pictures while drinking Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine. It had almost been two years since my father's death and though I'd had plenty of conversations about his high school days on the football field playing for ol' Dickie Brown to stealing Mr. Gays Batmobile to getting three licks pretty often. I'd even heard these stories from different friends of his from high school and hearing different sides makes you feel more and more like you were there. As we sat there looking at pictures my mom told my wife Sarina who hadn't heard many of the stories and I knew and old stories about her life and my dad's life till 4 in the morning.

In conclusion, pictures can be passed down from generation to generation but unless you go through and talk about them then you won't pass down the story happening in the pictures. It is especially important just to sit down with a grandparent, a parent, an aunt or uncle, or an elder from your church or community to learn wisdom and about their life. I've had times I'll see an older couple or just an elder sitting alone at a restaurant and will pay for their meal(even if you can tell they have the money it's just a respect thing) or just talk to them. It can usually make their day and make them happy to share about their life with you if they don't have anyone else to. So let's keep the memories alive!

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