Rather than write a post of my own today, since it is, after all, my birthday, I thought I would share Lizzie's post on Face Book, accompanied by a picture of Lizzie and me that Donnie took oh so many years ago. Lizzie called her post "Lessons from Mom." It raised quite a stir among her friends. It is always interesting to learn what one's children think of you -- and since Lizzie is now a professor of neuroscience and psychology, she has a more evaluative view than most children. So, here it is: Lizzie on Beth! (Realizing that some comments may require further explication, I have added clarifications in brackets -- if more clarification is needed, just ask!)
Lessons from Mom:
1. Life is an adventure, something to be enjoyed.
2. Challenge yourself – always.
3. Tolerance, acceptance, and love for all human beings.
4. Be willing to take risks .
5. Hard work can change your life’s circumstances.
6. Don’t be ashamed of yourself, your mistakes, or your past, just fix what you can and move on.
7. Humor can be found in the most insane and frustrating situations.
8. When life throws you punches, duck, hit ‘em where it hurts, and then face ‘em square in the eye for round 2.
9. Everybody has something to teach you---you just need to be open to their story.
10. To love is to forgive. To forgive is to be open to love.
11. Stand up for what’s right.
12. Do what you love, be the best at it, and the money will work itself out.
13. Education is a priority—even more important than a clean house and pretty clothes!
14. Laugh at yourself---frequently.
15. If it’s important to you, give it all you have.
16. Be yourself and people will love and respect you.
17. Honesty is not just the best policy, it is the ONLY policy.
18. Protect the ones you love.
19. Money doesn’t matter as much as character.
20. When dealing with conflict—the only way is the direct way.
21. Surprisingly, understanding British English is much more difficult than learning Russian. [Lizzie accompanied me to the UK at one point -- and I had a lot of difficulty understanding those folks whereas she spent a year in Russia with me, and I had no trouble understanding those folks.]
22. Make sure that you walk out the door fully dressed—every morning. [Once, in a hurry and rushed from getting four kids ready for school, I ended up at the bus stop on a major highway in only my slip.]
23. Hummingbird food may look like kool-aid, but it tastes oddly different. [My abysmal and risky cooking frequently panicked my children.]
24. Choose the road less traveled—it’s much more interesting and scenic. Just make sure the road is headed to the correct state! [Once, in traveling from Chicago to Pittsburgh, I took a very wrong, northern turn and did not realize what had happened, until I ended up in Detroit!]
25. When in doubt, drive 40 mph—EVERYWHERE!!! This way you have an equal chance of pissing off people on the highway and in the school zones.
26. When flying to England, pack your passport, even though they do speak English there. [I once forgot my passport for England; I told the ticket agent at the airport that I did not consider England "foreign" because people speak English there -- that was before I found out that it was not exactly my English that they speak there.]
27. Children should probably not be taken to porno flicks. The difference between a porno flick and a Disney flick can be easily identified by the tag line, “it wasn’t only his nose that grew.” [And she remembered this! Donnie and I looked all over a Disney movie for Lizzie and a weekend house guest from her kindergarten class. We found that Pinocchio was playing at a theater we had never been to before. We understood why we had never been there when we saw the XXX on the top of the theater and saw the tag line.]
28. Don’t let anything slow you down---for example, when midst deep conversation with a colleague and your shoe gets caught in a grate, causing you to walk out of said shoe, keep walking and talking. Your daughter will surely notice and run back and fetch it for you! [Yes, it happened!]
As you can see you have taught me so much -— some important and some fun lessons. I knew I was in trouble when, at the age of 5, I asked you when we were going to have a “real” life and you responded, “what do you mean?” I was like, “what DO I mean? How do I explain to this kooky lady that we are just not normal!” I then spent the rest of my childhood explaining to you how you were not doing things right. Yay me! I thought I was being helpful. Only now I realize how annoying it must have been to have a little chatterbox mouthing off all the time. Fortunately for me, you fostered my independence and need to voice my opinion. Thank you for not only loving me and supporting me through all those times and all my crazy and “not-so-normal” choices in life, but also being proud of me for who I am. I am so glad that I have the opportunity to get to know you as a person and share our life experiences as adults. Have I stopped telling how you are doing things wrong, yet!? That’s a hard habit to break. But, as much as my 20-something self planned on heading toward a rule-laden, normal, safe life, I find myself embracing the forget-conformity life that you modeled for me. Thanks for showing me the way towards a happy and fulfilling life. I love you, Mom.
And, for old time's sake, here is another picture of Lizzie and me (with Noelle enroute), taken by Donnie, many years ago: