Things I’ve learned from Mom

Mom wasn’t perfect but did the best she could.  She taught me the usual things like please and thank you, showing respect to others and not lying. The last I learned the hard way.  Actually, I learned a lot of things the hard way.

June & Gail Olmsted June 1956

We didn’t really get along since childhood and even as an adult she treated me like a child.  Until one visit in my early 50s when I put my foot down and wouldn’t allow that any more.

June, Francis & Helen Loomis 1935

I’ve always wondered what her Mother was like when she was growing up.  Probably very different than the Grandma I knew.

I grew up thinking there were way too many rules but now I know that children need boundaries.

As a child I learned not to make waves around the family.  My brother was very good at causing trouble and I didn’t want to be like him. So instead I learned from my mostly emotionless family to stuff it.  Thank goodness I went to therapy later as a young woman and relearned that emotions are OK, that I have the choice how to react emotionally.

Mom’s emotional reactions always seemed to include anger.  I lived like that also for a while and my brother still does.  But I decided to move away from anger and embrace happiness, love and a passion for life.

June Loomis High School gradution 1940s

Mom always seemed like an unhappy person and I tried for years to figure out why.  Ultimately, I will never know for sure but suspect she never realized her own personal dreams.  That’s enough to make anybody unhappy.  So in reverse, I learned to follow my dreams.

I didn’t grow up with encouragement to follow my heart but I guess she didn’t really know how to do that herself.  I was born in the 50s, when little girls were still expected to just get married and raise children.  And although I did eventually marry and become a step-Mom that wasn’t my dream.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I had those opportunities to learn and love and share.  Yet I’m sure I’d be a better Mom in my 50s than I was in my 20s.  Not that I want to start over.

June in car Padre Island TX

Only in the last of Mom’s life did I understand that she considered herself a slave.  And maybe by her earlier actions I learned not to be a slave to anyone, including myself.

I may have learned more from my Mom since she passed away simply by reflecting.  Most of the time I didn’t like my mother for the seemingly mean and angry personality she demonstrated.  But I love her, and I thank her every day for the lessons she taught me.

June 1970s

June Francis Loomis Olmsted 1927 – 2011

Happy Mother’s Day!

24 thoughts on “Things I’ve learned from Mom

  1. Yogi

    Great honest post. Things are really complicated aren’t they? Childhood really only lasts a few years and then we spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out what happened and why. At least that what it seems to me.

    Reply
  2. The Good Luck Duck

    I guess she did teach you a lot, maybe by contrast.

    Yogi is right. Eighteen years in, a lifetime figuring it out.

    Reply
  3. Cathy Sweeney

    You’ve so beautifully described how life and relationships are often so complex, but can teach such important lessons. I think that many women of our mothers’ generation were caught in a difficult time period — they were daring to dream, but lacked the confidence, support systems and social approval to turn dreams into reality. Thanks for sharing your personal story about you and your mom.

    Reply
  4. Just Jane

    Over the last few days, after a lifetime of difficulties in my relationship with my father, I finally found a well of compassion for him. It feels…weird and good and sad too. Thank you for sharing such an honest account of your relationship with your mom. Maybe I’ll be able to write such a thing for my dad…one day.

    Reply
  5. Ruth

    Very reflective and respectful. Every family has some dysfunction and it is worthwhile to try and understand why. It is too easy to carry emotional burdens that are not really ours to carry. I am glad you have carved a path of fulfillment and peace for yourself.

    Reply
  6. Malia LaneLane

    Gaelyn,
    I am glad I found your post this morning from a link on Facebook. As women RVers, we already have a lot in common, but just a bit of what you revealed about your complex relationship with your mom tells me we have dealt with a lot of the same issues in that regard. I just got off the phone with my mom and reminded her of her reaction when I told her in 2001 that I had decided to start fulltime RVing on my own. Her words and the venom with which they were spewed still is clear in my mind: “You’ve done some stupid things in your life, little girl, but this is the stupidest!!” It certainly wasn’t the first time I ignored her negativity and proceeded to do what I wanted to do. Actually, she softened considerably before I took off, but a couple of years later when I started taking her on parts of my trips, she thought my RVing was just an excellent idea! At 86 with health issues and increasing dementia, she is no longer able to travel, but still says the happiest memories of her life was when we traveled together.
    So just wanted to thank you for sharing your story, as well!
    Happy trails,
    Malia

    Reply
    1. Geogypsy Post author

      I guess we all have our crosses to bear. Sounds like you’ve worked some things out with your Mom. It’s a good thing. Maybe they make us stronger this way. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  7. berta

    Happy Moms day there girlfriend – – I am so glad I had time to get to know your Mom, and watch the interchanges between you – back and forth. I heard a quote something like ‘ there is a whole lot more love on this earth than ever gets spoken’ , and I could feel that love between you both, and yet unable to express it outloud. You were at last able to accept each other for who you were, and the connection was made. It was powerful. Thanks you for sharing – – love you, Berta

    Reply
  8. NatureStop

    Happy mother’s day! That’s a really honest post and I guess we do learn things from our mom’s even if we do not get along:)Have a great day!

    Shantana

    Reply
  9. Kathie

    Gaelyn, wow. you really opened your heart and poured it all out! I am glad you can find some good in your mom in spite of how hard it was. I am glad you have learned to open your heart and love. I am sorry things were so hard on you and her but proud of you for standing up for yourself. Happy Mother’s Day to you as well. It’s nice to see those old photos. You were a cute kid!

    Reply
  10. Sallie (FullTime-Life)

    An honest and heartfelt post, one that many of us can relate to, maybe because our mothers shared some of the same frustrations. thanks for sharing your story and congratulations on the successful “journey” to joy.

    Reply
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