OPINION COLUMNS

Life lessons from Mom, with love

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, May 12, 2018
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I’m in my 40s, but I still need my mom.

To this day I crave her hugs, seek her advice and cherish her listening ear. When I need to “get away,” my parents’ home is still a sweet respite from the stress of this world.

Kristen Tribe

I’ve learned so much through the years from my her, and as another Mother’s Day approaches I’ve been reflecting on the things she’s taught me, and continues to teach me, either through a good old-fashioned life lesson or by example.

Of course, there’s not space here to list everything, but these are perhaps the corner posts for all others.

1. HOW TO COOK A POT ROAST.

Pot roast and potatoes were a Sunday lunch staple at my house growing up. One might assume this is a recipe passed down multiple generations, but alas, it is not. I didn’t really like my grandmother’s pot roast. It was always a little on the dry side.

The key to my mom’s method is the Crock-Pot and the cut of beef. It has to be a chuck roast. Rump, arm, rib – those won’t work.

A chuck roast comes out juicy and tender every time. It’s a favorite of both my kids, and it’s easy to prepare – the definition of a mom win.

2. HOW TO FOLD A FITTED SHEET.

Wait a minute, who am I kidding? I still can’t do it.

I know the basic steps, but the execution is imperfect. Hers looks like a neat square, ready for the linen closet, while my end product looks like a giant paper wad, flattened, of course, for easy storage.

(Maybe we should revisit this lesson.)

3. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING INFORMED.

There were always newspapers, books and magazines in my childhood home. If my mom was sitting still, she was often reading, and I, too, picked up the habit. From an early age, I thought you were supposed to read magazines cover to cover. I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have a subscription to the Wise County Messenger.

When we visited my grandma, mom would read my grandmother’s copies of the Saint Jo Tribune, Bowie News and Gainesville Daily Register.

In addition to reading, we watched the television news, not once, but twice – 6 and 10 p.m. Plus, my mom watched it in the morning while getting ready for work.

It may not have been a conscious effort on her part, but by her example, she placed emphasis on knowledge and the importance of knowing what was going on not only in our community, but also our corner of the world.

4. THE IMPACT OF BEING INVOLVED.

My mom didn’t wait on other people to take care of things. When I was growing up, she was involved in all aspects of our community, as was my dad.

It wasn’t an option to “just stay home” or “let someone else handle this issue.”

They were teachers who went to school board meetings. They were leaders in our church; they didn’t miss a community event.

They worked concession stands, put on project shows, volunteered at Halloween carnivals and planned Vacation Bible Schools. My sister and I were at the center of all this, often helping, sometimes just tagging along.

My mom rarely, if ever, had a minute for herself. It was something I took for granted until I had kids of my own and suddenly found myself trying to balance family, a career and community.

She showed me it can be done. I don’t always get it right, but she taught me you’ll never regret helping. You’ll never regret working to make things better for yourself, your family and your friends and neighbors.

The beauty of it is she’s still here to help. As my husband and I find ourselves on a path similar to that of my parents, working and raising a family, my mom is my back-up.

I’m certain there have been times when she’s had more confidence in me than I had in myself. She continues to cheer, push and encourage, which not only lifts me up, but also my little family.

When I needed something, she’s never said “no.” And for that, I’m forever grateful. She is central to where I’ve been and where I’m going.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Kristen Tribe is the Assistant Publisher of the Messenger and a mother of her own very busy teenagers.

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