I recently read an article in a magazine that talked about how the physical features you share with your mother reveal similar personality traits. Similar eyes meant you both were optimistic. Lips meant you both were openhearted; noses, equally trusting. The article offered some keen insights that I am sure for many, rang very true.
But not for me, because unfortunately, I don’t share any physical traits with my mother.
My Mama has always been one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever known. I don’t possess my mother’s long auburn waves that I envied as a little girl. Her eyes are a grayish blue that looked like storm clouds on a spring day.
I don’t have her peaches and cream complexion that often accompanies redheads either, instead I have alabaster skin spotted with freckles.
She didn’t need much makeup when I was a little girl, but when she did, she rivaled Rita Hayworth.
I remember seeing her standing at the washing machine one morning in her gown to load laundry and thinking even in her slippers she had the prettiest legs.
I’m not as tall as Mama either, nor do I have her tiny waist or the endowments in the right places like Mama.
I still remember Granny telling me how Mama caused a man to run off the road once when she was checking the mail.
Instead, I inherited a deep compassion for all living things, no matter how small. The sense of treating everyone with respect and dignity.
“We are all someone’s child,” Mama would remind me. “And even if their parents aren’t here, we are someone far greater’s child.”
She gave me a love for learning and an appreciation for every opportunity.
“It’s not what you’re given, but what you do with it,” Mama will say. “Be thankful for everything.”
She’s shown me sometimes we do things we may not want to do, but do them anyway because they need to be done. No matter how little we have, or can give, there’s still someone who may be in worse shape than I am and even the smallest amount of kindness or charity can mean a lot to someone.
She also gave me a love for being a mother, for enjoying every second because time passes too quickly.
She shared with me what it’s like to put someone else’s needs and wants far before my own. Her only regret is that maybe if she had done things differently, I could have had more or done more.
But that’s just the way a mother is — we always worry that what we do is not quite ‘enough.’
I didn’t get her outward beauty, her flowy long auburn hair or her gorgeous curves.
But the things that I did inherit from Mama are things that as a mother, I am passing on to my own child now — compassion, love and respect.
And they are the things that truly mean the most.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist and certified life coach. She lives in the north Georgia mountains with her family and four insane but fairly well-behaved dogs.