“My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be… I don’t know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her.”  -Rory Gilmore, Gilmore Girls

Many of you probably know the television show Gilmore Girls. For those who don’t (you’re missing out) it’s about a single mom named Lorelai raising her daughter, Rory. The pair are best friends and do just about everything together. They struggle, grow, and learn about life and love, all while talking a mile a minute and drinking copious amounts of coffee. My mom and I have watched this show on repeat together since I was in high school. She is the Lorelai to my Rory.

To celebrate and appreciate my Mama this Mother’s Day, I’d like to share with you some of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my Lorelai. Whether you’re reading this thinking “my mom and I are best friends too” or “my mom and I don’t see eye to eye but I love her” or maybe your mom is missing from your life for whatever the reason may be, I hope this Mother’s Day you take the time to reflect on some of the lessons your mother or mother-like figure has taught you. Here are 7 of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my Lorelai:

  1. Give whenever possible, but also know how to be a grateful receiver.

Genuine compliments, kind words, thoughtful gifts, handwritten cards, a helping hand – my mom has taught me to never miss an opportunity to give. She tends to keep spare gifts on hand because you never know when something worth celebrating will arise for someone you love. Also, she’s shown me through her example of graciousness how to accept kindness from others. It takes a lot of class to accept help when you truly need it, or a compliment when you aren’t feeling that you deserve it. Generosity and gratitude should be practiced daily – they take time to form but reap the greatest rewards.

  1. Live within your means.

This one is very important, not to mention practical. If you can’t afford something, don’t get it. It’s as simple as that. Save as much as you can, plan for the future, and don’t “treat yourself” every chance you get because “you earned it”. When your car breaks down or your rent increases or your tuition payment is due, you’ll be glad you decided to skip the lattes and eat at home so that you could bulk up your savings to cover life’s unexpected messes.

  1. Live life by the Thumper rule: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” – Thumper, Bambi

All too often we spend our time tearing each other down with our words when there is absolutely no need to. Words can really hurt and linger with someone. Wouldn’t you rather leave another person with kind words? If you truly have nothing nice to say, it’s best to be like Thumper and not say anything at all.

  1. Be confident in your own skin – you are beautiful (no make-up needed).

Everyone has an awkward stage, but mine was particularly brutal. From the lime green sweatshirt (every. day.) to when I finally discovered how to work with my curly hair and not against it, my mom saw it all and she loved me through it. She gave me the confidence to own every stage of growing from “ugly duckling to swan”. Because of her, I didn’t notice until I was past it all that maybe I should have been embarrassed… Luckily, I didn’t have to be. I was raised to know that beauty is so much more than looks. It’s joy, confidence, personality, and learning to love and take care of yourself – inside and out.

  1. Live well and laugh often.

Take care of your body and your soul. I’m pretty sure my mom could bench press me, and I know for sure she can out run me. But I’m not even embarrassed to admit that because (a) she pushes me to take care of my body so I can be stronger, faster, and healthier and (b) I’m pretty positive she’s secretly superwoman. On top of staying healthy she is always cracking jokes, making a witty/sarcastic comment, or making someone smile. She has shown me what ‘living life to the fullest’ truly means; and it’s beautiful.

  1. Love to infinity and beyond.

Love deeply, unconditionally, and without holding back. Even when it hurts. You never know what your love could do for someone else. Take every chance you get to tell someone they are so very loved.

  1. Give everything to God.

Most importantly, my mom is an example of true faith and trust in God. She has shown me what life fixed on Christ really is. She’s raised me to know and love my Catholic faith. She’s told me of God’s love, mercy and grace and reflected it throughout her life and everything she has been through.

I’m not exaggerating when I say, I have the absolute greatest mom in the world. There is no one on this earth more beautiful, compassionate, witty, strong, or loving. Her heart is bigger than anyone could imagine. She’s always there to listen and she never pretends to be perfect. But in her imperfections she shows grace, humility and love. I may be just a little bit biased, but I get to be because I’m so blessed to be her daughter.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mama’s out there. Thank you for loving your families so well.

To quote Rory Gilmore (again), “I cannot do this alone. I need my mommy and I don’t care who knows it!”