"Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the guru." -- Charlotte Joko Beck

Sunday, May 13, 2018

We Could Never Get Away With Anything - Mom Always Knew!

What is it about a mother’s intuitive instincts that she could always tell when we’re in trouble, when we need help, or if we’ve broken the rules.

Growing up, mom always knew what my brother and I were up to. My mother should have been a police tracker or forensic investigator, because she could read imperceptible impressions in the carpet and invisible hand prints on the walls. She knew when we’d had friends over to the house while she was at work, even though we weren’t supposed to, and could tell who they were, what rooms we had been in and what we were doing in them.

Even though I never saw her watch the news, read a newspaper or even listen to a news report on the radio, she always knew when it was going to rain (“take an umbrella”), who we shouldn’t hang around with (“that kid is going to get into trouble”), and when we should or shouldn’t do something. I remember her telling us we couldn’t go ice skating at a pond one day – even though we’d skated there all the time. The ice had broken and one of our friends fell in. He was uninjured, but still, it could have been worse. But she knew!

When we got older and moved away, she still knew when something was going on. If one of us got a promotion, new job or something else significant, she would happen to call with an expectant tone in her voice asking if we had something to tell her. If money was tight or something needed repair, there would suddenly be a check in the mail for a few bucks that she would say was “just because.”

We used to swear she was a witch.

She didn’t really have magical powers (I don’t think), but she did have a heck of a network of informants. Everyone in the neighborhood knew mom. She was, and still is, a stunning woman and people always wanted to know her.

Let me tell you, it’s not easy growing up with the “hot mom” in the neighborhood.

At my wedding, the photographer was so enthralled with mom,
there are more pictures of her ithan of the bride and groom.
My 5th grade teacher used to send notes home with me to request parent-teacher meetings with my mother. I was a loquacious child in elementary school, usually laughing and joking in class. So these meeting requests were frequent. It is only later that I realized that other kids who were much more troublesome weren’t having their parents called into school as often. Turns out my young, single teacher had a bit of a crush on mom and he wanted every opportunity to flirt with her.  When I realized this, I tried to intercede by checking the “no meeting” box and used my burgeoning artistic talent to copy her signature. He was so disappointed, he called my mother to ask why she didn’t want to meet with him. I was grounded for weeks.

One benefit of having a good looking mother was that, even though I was a lousy athlete, I got to play on sports teams because the other kids and my coaches wanted to see my mom when she dropped me off or picked me up from practice.

It was frustrating as I got into high school and college when classmates who hadn’t met her before tried to hit on my “sister.” And she was intimidating to any potential girlfriends.

Yep, she is 80 years old in this pic!

Bless her, she still is turning heads at 80. She’s married to a man more than a decade younger than she and they perform as singers and dancers at senior centers and other venues.

So other than the fact that today is Mothers Day, why am I writing this in a leadership blog?

Because mom taught me some very vital life and leadership lessons. 

  • Pay attention to small details. You can learn a lot about what is going on and who is doing what by paying attention.
  • Trust your gut instincts. If you get a feeling that something is wrong or something is right, open yourself to delve further and find the facts.
  • Create a great network. You can’t know everything, but by interacting with others, you can learn much of what you need to know to make decisions.

Happy Mothers Day, Mom. Thanks for teaching me these important basics. I love you. 

Keep on rocking the world!

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