I am lucky to say that all my life, I have been surrounded by people who have always pushed me to be the best I can be. Without a doubt, though, the person who has never ceased to have been the number one person behind so many of my decisions has been my mom. This being said, I can think of countless things I have not wanted to do that she has made me do, and that I have been mad at her in the moment for. Now, looking back on all these situations, I can say that I am thankful for them now. Everything she needed to push me to do, she pushed me to do for a reason, and I can finally understand that looking back. Here are a few of the many things I am thankful my mom pushed me to do:

1) Hang out with my friends.

Now, let me explain this, because this does not seem like something my mom would have to push me to do. It is not that I do not like to hang out with my friends, because I definitely do. More often than I would like to admit, however, I would rather stay home and relax than have to go out. If I would get invited somewhere, I would usually go tell my mom about it, but tell her that I was going to make an excuse so I did not have to go. To this, she would almost always respond, “Just go, what’s the big deal? You go hang out for a few hours, then you can come home and relax. You will regret not going one day.” I would almost always end up going, and even though I would be mad, once I would get there, I would forget why I did not want to go in the first place. Then, of course, I would realize that she was right. Now, if I think about all the times I almost did not spend time with my friends because I was just too lazy to want to go, the amount of memories I would never have made would be too many to count.

2) Play sports.

When I was young, I played every sport I possibly could. From, softball to basketball to soccer to dance, I did it all. There were numerous times I could think of when I wanted to stay home and not go to practice or to a game, but my mom always would tell me that I made a commitment to my team. She would also reassure me, and say to me that whether or not I played very well, as long as I did my best and had fun, that was all that really mattered (which was good because as much as I loved playing sports, I was most certainly no star athlete). From these experiences, I know today that even if you do not necessarily excel at something, if you are happy doing it, that is all that is truly important.

3) Go to school dances.

Just like my mom would have to push me to go out with my friends, she would also have to push me to go to school dances. This did not happen every time one came around, but it happened often enough. I would love to get dressed and do my makeup to go, but I always knew that once I was there for about an hour or two, I would be ready to go home. Once again, she would tell me that it was only one night, and that when it came down to it, I would be more upset if I did not go, than if I went. Looking back, I cannot even imagine what I would have missed out on if I did not go to even one dance.

4) Go on my first Midnight Run.

Throughout high school, I went on a Midnight Runs, where you spend a night going to the city to help feed the homeless. The first year I took part in one was my sophomore year, and I was just not sure that I wanted to do it, probably because I did not know what to expect. My mom pushed me to do it, because she said it was important that I help those in need when I was so lucky to have all that I did. After I went on my first midnight run that year, I realized how fulfilling of an experience it was, and I more than willingly participated in the ones my junior and senior years. In this situation in particular, I can honestly say that it is not something I think I ever would have done if my mom had not highly encouraged me, and I never would have been able to realize how good knowing you did something to help others feels.

Through each of these situations, my mom taught me valuable life lessons, and allowed me to make memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Now, whenever my mom pushes me to do something that I do not want to, I think about these experiences and realize that she is probably right. I know that she would not want me to do something if I would not ultimately get something out of it, and I could never thank her enough for that. I mean, what can I say? I guess it really is true that mother knows best.