My First Teacher

Mama with doll
My mom when she dreamed of being a mother.

I remember a few years ago, as I rose early one morning, I glanced at my reflection in the window and saw my mother’s face staring back at me. Until that moment, I had not realized how much I resemble her. More than sharing her looks, I hope I have inherited her character. She has always taken care of those that society tends to forget, especially shut-ins and the elderly. As a child, I tagged along on many of these visits. Even though she has slowed down, she stills gets joy from cooking meals and making sure those around her are happy and satisfied.

Most of what I learned from my mom came from simple observation. She definitely wasn’t a helicopter mom, but I was a clingy child and stayed close to her side. She taught me how to carry on a conversation with strangers just by listening to her interactions around others. I can cook because I spent so much time in  her kitchen; I’m sure most of the time getting in the way. On the weekends, she allowed my sisters and me to rummage through her cookbooks and cabinets to bake whatever caught our fancy.


Although my mom did not finish high school – she married at seventeen- she made sure that I and my four siblings got the most of our education. At 58 years old,  she set an example for the importance of higher learning by getting her GED and graduating from a community college. When we were growing up, she made summer weekly trips to the library a priority. And she always rewarded us for any A’s on our report cards.

A few years ago, I wrote down the reasons I’m blessed she’s my mother and gave the list to her. I’m glad I did this because even though I think I’ve expressed those sentiments in other ways, I wanted her to see it in black and white. For this Mother’s Day, I’m sharing a Billy Collins poem. Happy Mother’s to my mom and all mothers!


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