What My Momma Taught Me.

              I'm grateful for my momma. 

              I'm grateful to my momma for so many things...for kisses and diaper changes when I was tiny, for holding me and loving me and rocking me to sleep on so many nights even though I don't remember them. I'm grateful for the hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when I was in school, for picking me up from school with a smile and a big hug every day, and for her help with impossible math problems. I'm grateful for her advice and I'm grateful for her love as I've grown up and navigated becoming an adult. I'm grateful that she's supported me in all I've wanted to do as it changes and grows by the day.

             But most of all? Most of all these days, I'm grateful for one thing. 

             I'm grateful that my momma never spoke a negative word about herself in my presence one day in my life. 

             I am one of three girls, and a question that is often asked of us is, "How did you all turn out to be such confident women?" There are many factors that lend to the full and complete answer to this question - the incessant love of our earthly father being a very, very important one - but lately I've been reflecting on my aforementioned gratitude. 

              There's something about a mother's connection with her daughter. It is a very special thing, and, as much as we do or don't want to...we become our mothers. We hear it all the time..."Oh my gosh, I'm becoming my mother." We do. We grow up watching our moms - the way they act, the way they talk, who they associate with. We watch how they run their household, what they cook, who they are. We watch how they treat their husbands or, if they are a single mom, how valiantly they carry the family alone on their back. Most importantly, we learn to look at ourselves the way we see our mothers look at themselves. 

              I've heard many mothers complain about their dissatisfaction with themselves in front of their children. I've heard mothers say they hate their nose or that they need to lose weight or that they wish something else they didn't like about themselves was just plain better or more beautiful. I've heard mothers say a lot of sad things about themselves that have broken my heart as I've watched young wide-eyed daughters listen to this negative self-talk from the woman they adore most. 

             And in all my life I have never heard my momma say one of these things. For all I know she thinks she has the best nose God ever invented. For all I know she has always been happy with her body even though she has carried 4 children with it. And I love it that way because of what this has taught me. 

             Because my mother did not speak poorly of herself in front of her children, I learned to not speak poorly of myself in front of others. Because she didn't speak poorly of herself I assumed that she loved herself just as she is - and I learned to try with all my heart to love myself just as I am. Maybe she didn't realize what she was doing. Perhaps she didn't realize that in loving herself or by remaining silent on the days she really didn't, that she was engraining a sense of invaluable confidence in me.

              I will be forever grateful for this. God willing, when I have my own children, I will do just the same...love myself just the way I am to teach my children to love themselves just the way they are.   

             And so, to my momma...thank you for loving yourself and for remaining silent in front of your daughters on the not-feeling-so-pretty days, for never putting yourself down but only building us up, and for teaching us to be who we are and love who we are. Thank you.