When I was six years old, the youngest and only girl of four children, my mom started to take me out for lunch every Saturday. More than forty-two years and 2,000 lunches later, our tradition still continues each week.
My mom and I choose to spend Saturdays together because we value each other’s company and ideas. Our day is filled with discussions about stories we’ve read, movies we’ve watched, and our weekly experiences.
Now, on occasion, my fiercely independent mother reluctantly allows me to treat her to a meal now instead. “It’s your time,” I constantly remind her.
During the last few years, my mom has told inspiring stories about her volunteer work teaching the visually impaired how to knit. She also reads voraciously—another activity in her daily routine to keep her mind sharp. To maintain her body’s strength, my mom does laps in her apartment hallway and around the complex’s grounds in good weather.
As we walk and chat during our get-togethers, we’re still overcome with the same belly laughter that propelled us through folding endless loads of laundry and preparing massive feasts together in the house where I grew up. Even in the bowling-alley kitchen in her current apartment, we still know how to move around each other with ease, instinctively passing utensils that the other needs.
Through each phase of life, my mom has stepped up readily to meet the next challenge. She has continued to find excitement in each new day rather than longing for the past. As she flashes her bright smile at anyone lucky enough to cross her path, my mom says that she’s just grateful to wake up—and have another chance to put her feet on the ground—each morning.
Here are a few of my mom’s pearls of wisdom for embracing a simple approach to life:
- Start each day with the possibility of something wonderful happening.
- If you get on the wrong train, there’s always another one to take back.
- Either you do, or you don’t. All of the other self-created chaos is wasted energy.
- Listen carefully to others, and enjoy learning from them.
- Revel in small gestures, and offer a smile and kind word.
- Remember when you rose to meet challenges as you take on new ones.
- Decide to be happy, so you’re good company for others.
- Nothing is coming to you. You have to earn it.
- Don’t question your abilities. If something goes wrong, you can always try again.
- Don’t try to read other people’s thoughts, which will complicate your life.
- After you take a bad fall, get back up. Done!
- Accept people for who they are, and enjoy the qualities you admire.
- Always tell yourself that you will find a way to survive life’s “challenges.”
My relationship with my mom is extraordinarily easy and uncomplicated. She finds great pleasure in every aspect of her life by sharing her joyful spirit.