Thinking about my mom always, but especially today as I return home from the out-of-state family picnic! How faithful and strong her belief always was in God, even when things did not turn out as she’d hoped. How she always put others first, oftentimes it seemed to her own detriment. One thing for certain is that her heart was always in the right place. She consistently wanted the best for everyone around her, and was always their personal cheerleader! Sadly, a lot of the times it seemed like she wanted more for others, than they actually wanted for themselves. I’ve never seen those types of situations work out, but that never stopped my kindhearted mother from giving up on anyone! You were going to be on her prayer list for the rest of your life, even if you wanted to come off of it!
As I look back on her life, the main thing that stands out is the importance of family. It didn’t matter who you were mad at or what happened in the past, family should never be forsaken. You’d better love each other in her presence as well as in public, regardless of what you did in private or you were definitely going to hear about it! Support family first, especially siblings, then ask questions later! It was crucial that a united front was always shown! My mother was definitely the glue that kept the family connected. She wanted everyone to kiss and make up, and if anyone was on the outs with another family member, she was going to try to fix it. (not sure they always appreciated her input because I know I didn’t, but at least she cared, lol).
Flying home for the weekend to attend a family picnic is not something I would have normally done. I must admit that I have been so busy trying to build a life and keep my immediate family afloat, that I did not spend a lot of time visiting my family back home. I definitely remembered that family came first when my mother’s health started failing, as well as when my brother was diagnosed with 6 months to live. Thankfully over the last few years before they both passed on, I had made getting out of debt a priority. I was able to visit them both more in the last few months of their lives because of my improved financial situation, than I had in the prior 15 years that had passed since I’d moved away. Even though it wasn’t something I would have normally done, having the funds to travel was also part of the challenge over the years. I learned later, and it wasn’t a happy realization that where my money went definitely represented my priorities!
The good news was that I had wizened up and completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class before they became ill. Learning how to budget was the only reason I was able to spend that quality time with my family when they started having health challenges. I will be forever grateful for this class, (and am definitely looking forward to soon leading my first class this coming Sunday, Sept 11th), and experiencing the death of my loved ones have definitely contributed to me placing a higher value on family. It would have been a sad state of affairs had I wanted to spend quality time with them and had not been able too because of my financial status. I can honestly say I have no regrets! FPU not only gave me financial peace, but even more importantly, it gave me quality time with my loved ones!
A new personal goal is attending as many family events in my mom’s honor as I can. It is definitely something she would have wanted. I’m not sure where that foreign thought came from when it first surfaced last month (trust me, it isn’t natural!), but I immediately knew it was the right thing to do. While I could never remove the heartache that my mom’s passing caused, what I COULD do was simply give my family a small piece of her by being in their presence. Looking at me is like looking at my mother so this was the perfect gift, and it cost nothing but time. I’ve learned that sometimes the gift of quality time is more valuable than a monetary gift. Even though I went initially because it was the right thing to do, it felt great to see my nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncle and so many other family members that I’d never even met before. It’s also definitely cool is it to be a Great Aunt! Looking at the littles (great nieces and nephew) brought on an unexpected surge of love! Unfortunately they weren’t as excited to see me as I was to see them, but just being in their presence warmed my heart.Eventually they will learn to love me, or I will simply grow on them by being around a lot more often, lol..Either way, I’ll take it!
While it is definitely with pride and honor that I now step up to the plate and carry on my mom’s “Family” legacy, I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to taking on this new responsibility!