Last Sunday I had the honor of participating in Listen To Your Mother Chicago (LTYM). When I told my own mother that I was going to be reading an essay I wrote about motherhood on a stage in front of hundreds of people her response was pure beauty: “I hope you don’t talk too fast.”
You see, my mom doesn’t get too excited—or too upset—about anything. I grew up in a house where birthdays were celebrated with a simple cake and nice dinner with your siblings and weddings were special days we got to spend with family and friends. And when sad things happened, my mom would give a brief teary-eyed talk before launching us into the plans that would move us forward.
I used to believe this lack of emotion over big life events meant we, as a family, didn’t really care about them. However, as I have gotten older, I realize that isn’t the case at all. My mom didn’t let us get too caught up in the celebrations or the sorrows in an effort to keep us focused on the big picture of life. If we spend all of our time focused on specific events and activities, we will miss our opportunity to enjoy—and appreciate—the overall experience. After all, as Rose Kennedy said, “Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.”
So, here was my milestone. I had written an essay about motherhood and was selected to be part of the cast of LTYM. It would have been really easy to get caught up in the celebration of it all, but, thanks to my mother, I focused on the experience. I appreciated every moment, every story shared, every relationship built and when it was over, I had a brief teary-eyed talk with myself as I made plans to move myself forward with more great storytelling opportunities.
Here is the great life lesson from Mom: Don’t let the big milestones of life keep you from appreciating the everyday moments. Oh, and don’t talk too fast.