In honor of Mother’s Day this coming weekend, I am excited to share my very first Spotlight on Motherhood, featuring my fabulous maternal grandmother: Muriel. What makes today’s post even more special is that it is guest edited by my own mother, Cherilyn! I asked her to reflect on her mom, and any lessons she had learned from her (directly through her teaching or indirectly through just observing her actions) that she carried through life and found to be valuable. I loved reading what she wrote so much, especially the “Words from Muriel” – they are all so wise and so very HER. She lived to be 92 years old, and this September would have been her 100th birthday. I so wish she could have met her great-grandkids – she loved children so much and would have been completely obsessed with them (and vice versa). We miss you, Momommy!
My Mom, Muriel Audeen Taylor Sheets, lit up every room she entered. She was glamorous, but it was her outgoing, loving, enthusiastic personality that captured people’s hearts. Amazingly generous with her time, emotions and money, she was genuinely passionate about everyone she loved and believed in. And she loved almost everyone she came into contact with, especially her family. Muriel’s positive nature routinely empowered others to reach for their personal “stars”.
Mom told me when I was a small child, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you are a girl!” “You can do anything a boy can do!” “Work hard to become the best!” Born in 1918, a stay-at-home Mom most of her adult life, she was determined that any girls she met would be encouraged and empowered to reach their own personal heights and not be held back by society.
Mom was devoted to Dad and he loved her deeply as well. He told me that to him she was always the most beautiful woman in the room. She never knew it. Mom was my greatest role model, self-appointed personal critic, and most unabashed cheerleader. She taught me that the “inside” of a person is way more important than the “outside”.
Words from Muriel
…about being “a girl in a man’s world”:
Study hard so you can financially support yourself, and the entire family if necessary!
You are going to work hard in life…prepare so you can be well compensated for that work.
Never let a man put you under his thumb! (Done with the visual image of putting her weight on her thumb, while she pushed down like she was trying to squish something.)
Watch how a young man treats his mother to learn how he will treat his wife.
In athletics and in life, never hold back because you don’t want to embarrass a male opponent if you are better than him. (She was very competitive!)
Above: In her nurses uniform during WWII // Below: With Cherilyn, her only child
…about raising children:
Distraction is way more effective than scolding. (p.s. This technique also works on unruly adults!)
Create a loving child by being loving to them.
Live your life in a way you’d like your children to emulate.
Be a disciplined parent to help your children learn how to be disciplined and set personal limits when older.
Teach children respect for others and for themselves.
Teach the difference between right and wrong so they can choose right even if it isn’t popular.
Help your children develop mentally, physically and spiritually.
Above: James (“J.B.” to all who knew him), Muriel, and Cherilyn outside J.B.’s dental practice
My Mom was ahead of her times in many ways. She possessed a timeless common sense about raising healthy, productive children and creating a sound, functional, loving marriage. She was also fiercely independent. I think of her daily and the lessons I learned from her. These lessons have been passed down to my daughter and are currently being passed on to my granddaughter. Muriel is still with us as we live her lessons and provide our own living examples for future generations.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom/Momommy! We love you very much.
Thanks again to my mom, Cherilyn, for sharing these memories! (Pictured below around age 3 🙂 ).