If we all get one hero, Anita Richard has always been and will forever remain mine. Since her passing in 2014, I still hear her voice when I’m trying to make a decision. I often think to myself: “What would Mom do?” Her birthday was May 8th , which was always close to Mother’s Day and I always figured that was because a birthday alone wasn’t enough to celebrate a woman like that… Of course, she left me with a wide array of memories, moments of laughter and life altering conversations. Throughout the 34 years we shared together, she also left me with lessons: lessons that often hit pretty hard, personally and professionally. What follows are 5 of the greatest lessons I learned from my hero, my Mom:
- It’s never too late! My Mom returned to college as an adult student. Without fear, she walked into classrooms, took in the lessons and was easily a star pupil in every single class. She knew what she wanted and she went for it, regardless of timelines and regardless of anyone else’s opinion.
- Be there for those you love! When I had my boys, I was pretty young. Fate brought us together (and by that I mean that she sought out an apartment one floor above me) in the same apartment building so that she could watch over me. When my sister needed her most, she moved in and provided support in every single way. Whenever my brother needed someone, she was there at the drop of a hat. She knew what mattered most and made every moment count for those she loved.
- Do what you love! Despite my always-hectic schedule, my Mom supported everything that I did. She is the biggest reason that I’ve always been an advocate for doing the things that make you happy. In retrospect, I think she wanted this for her kids because she always bent to everyone’s will. If you’re doing what you love, you can’t help but be happy!
- Laugh, A LOT! If there’s one image that remains etched in my brain, it’s her smile. No one smiled and laughed more heartily than my mother. She taught me that laughter is indeed, medicine. Memories that are fond and make your belly hurt from laughing so hard should be shared time and time again. It’s good for the soul and the heart.
- Stay humble! My mom raised 3 kids pretty much on her own. She was a worker bee who knew that she had bills to pay and children to care for. She did an outstanding job (at least I think so) and she did it on her own. She was strong, independent, she always did the right thing, she had the most beautiful soul and she was completely selfless; all of this in one person but no clue as to the impact she had on people. She affected so many with her advice, her charisma and her natural way and yet, she never KNEW how great she really was. To me, that was part of her charm.We all have reasons for believing in people and letting what they say soak in. My mom was a beacon that pointed me in the right direction time and time again. My greatest lesson of all: if I can be half the woman that she was, I’ll be golden!