This past weekend I showed up with my family to clean the church building we go to on Sundays. Sadly, we were the only ones who showed up until an elderly couple came along about an hour later. So what could have been less than an hour worth of work, if everyone had showed up, turned into a grueling three-hour scrub fest.
There was no point griping about the unfairness of it all, the building needed to be cleaned. I kept saying to my daughter “Stay with me.” Through the many windows and mirrors, through the toilets, counters and floors, “Stay with me,” came out about a zillion times.
“Jeez, Mom,” my daughter said, “why do you keep saying that? I haven’t left you once.”
I smiled, realizing it was a phrase my mother had repeated to me on many occasions, usually involving hard work, and now I was doing it to my daughter.
I do a lot of things because of my mother. I clean in a specific order, the same way my mother did. I always do my hair and makeup because my mother stressed the importance of looking my best each day. I’m not exactly like my mother in everything, but at the very core of who I choose to be is influenced by the woman she was. An influence I can now see reaching beyond me and into my own children. That kind of impact shouldn’t be overlooked, or demeaned. When you look back and see the ripple effect of a mother, no one can deny their role isn’t a powerful one.