That loving nickname has stuck with me for thirty years. Sissy Belle, NOT Chunky Tuna! But it's not the only thing that my mother has stuck on me for the last thirty years. So as Mother's Day came and went this weekend, I reminisced on the lessons of life she has imparted to me thus far.
Here's what my mom has taught me in the last 30 years:
1. Work. It's ok to be a working mother and to want to be a working mom. My mom has worked her entire career except for the first nine months of my life. She has been the epitome of the working mom. In my childhood, her days ran something like: 8-5 in the office, to shuttling my brother around to baseball and wrestling practices and weekends full of games/meets, to helping me with homework, to doing all (Sorry Pops! You ain't got nothing on Mom in this department) of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, emptying the kitty litter, feeding the dogs, and tucking us all in with a kiss each night. I never wanted for more attention or time from my mom, because this was all I knew, it was my normal. She multi-tasked with a smile and showed me that life is about working hard, professionally and personally.
2. Be Selfless. If you go back and read the list that I just wrote out, you'd realize that everything I listed was work she was doing for someone else. My mother taught me that to be fulfilled in life, you have to be selfless. If you give all you have, you'll be repaid in full happiness, plus the profits of joy and love.
3. Fight. Not a lesson you would expect from a mom, but my mother took the time to teach me that you have to fight for what you want in life and love. Professionally, I've watched my mom fight against stereotypes. With only a high-school degree she has climbed to the top of a company where only the boys play. She's got balls. And thankfully, she's taught me to fight on the boy's playground too. Personally, the greatest lesson she taught me is that you know you will have found "the one" when you are willing to fight with them and fight for them.
4. It's never too late. To do whatever you want to do. If you find something that makes you happy and gives you joy and peace, do it. And for my mom, that's baking the most fantastic, correction, Pamtastic cheesecakes. She decided to go for it and while she isn't overloaded with orders quite yet, she taught me that when you love to do something, when you have a pamtastic passion, you have to follow through, or you will never know. And why live a life of "what if's?"
5. Have Faith. My mother has repeatedly told me to have faith: strong, heart full of conviction, faith that will carry you through every triumph and tragedy. I watched my mom go through the long process of losing her mother to Alzheimer's. For seven years, she traveled three hours, every Saturday, to visit her mom (and dad) who didn't even know who she was. She showed up without hesitation or question, long after the recognition had vanished from her mom's eyes. She has unwavering faith. She has taught me that faith and for that, above all else, I am forever grateful.
While I couldn't spend Mother's Day with my mom, I spent the day thinking about all of these life lessons and capturing them for you, but mostly to remind myself how lucky I am to have my very own Pamtastic mom.
Happy Mother's Day Mom!
With love and admiration,
Want to see a picture of my mom and "Chunky Tuna?” It's posted here, on my Sales Barista Facebook page.
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