Remember the poster that said, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
Really? Then why did I go to school through 12th grade and felt the need to continue on to college…and now, I’ve decided I need more education. Yes, I learned some fabulous lessons in kindergarten from the all-patient, kind-hearted Miss Beverly Richardson. God love her. She put up with me and my incessant need to chat with anything that walked, talked, and listened. I became accustomed to seeing my name on the board everyday. And sure to follow close behind were typically 3 checks. Check #4…cue the music…dum, dum dum dum, duuuuuum…meant a trip to the principal’s office. Thank goodness I never had the pleasure of a personal visit with Mr. Watson. Thank you, Miss Beverly, and sorry I sped up the graying process! I do know, despite the constant interruption of Stephanie Jo, she taught us many valuable lessons such as patience, kindness, sharing, no hitting, cleaning up messes, and washing your hands before eating. And yes, those lessons still apply to our lives today, but “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned from Being a Wife and a Mom.”
Let us start with being a wife. My husband has taught me many things. Over the past 18 years, he has helped me develop into a much more patient person. That has not been an easy task. He’s increased my knowledge when it comes to football, attempted to help me pass freshman chemistry to no avail, and even taught me to fish. He researches and teaches me about my health problems so I can understand them in “Stephy Terms” and the list goes on and on! I can’t imagine my life without him. But if there is one major lesson he has taught me, or I should say we learned together this past summer, it is how to cherish. We knew how to love. Heck, we’ve loved each other very deeply for the past 18 years. But loving is quite different than cherishing. Cherishing goes deeper than love. Cherishing is truly seeing someone. It’s adoration, admiration, and appreciation. Cherish…When he speaks to me, I don’t just nod, say, “Uh huh” and keep going. I look at him and adore the man I see before me. I admire his deep devotion to Christ and to our family. I appreciate everything he does from taking the trash to the curb to getting Hannah ready in the morning and off to school. I appreciate, admire and adore him. I love him and the us we are today. But most importantly, I absolutely beyond all I am, cherish him to the ends of the earth. Kindergarten…pish posh. Shannon is my new kindergarten.
Now let’s look at being a mom. Hannah Elizabeth has taught me many things as well. However, I didn’t realize all the valuable lessons she had taught me and continues to teach me until I learned the meaning of cherish. Yes, when she was a baby, after quite a bit of practice, she taught me that babies are a lot of work. Changing diapers, fixing bottles, figuring out why she’s crying, worrying over why she isn’t talking, feeling frustrated with potty training, and wondering why God thought I would be a suitable mom. Yes, I realized that I can’t keep a plant alive, but a baby…ain’t no thang! I could carry her on one hip, wipe throw-up off the wall, all while talking on the phone. It became second nature. So much so, that over the past 7 years, everything became…”Hannah, Mommy can’t play right now because I have to fold laundry.” “Hannah, Mommy is tired. Please stop talking.” “Hannah…” “Not now, Hannah.” I allowed my second nature to become my way of life. I was running on autopilot. Then one day this past summer, KAPOW…cherish hit me upside the head. I have this amazing, beautiful, smart, fabulous little lady standing right in front of me. I opened my eyes for the first time and realized that for 7 years I had allowed things such as laundry, dishes, and dust to keep me from listening to, playing with, and bottom line, cherishing my daughter. I have loved her from the moment I saw her 9:32 a.m. on September 10th, 2004. I fell in love with her that day, and like her daddy, I loved her deeply. However, I never really stopped to look into her eyes when she spoke to me. I had never really thought about what a little miracle my father in heaven had placed in my life. Now when I look at her, I realize what an amazing little girl she is. She loves to dance, loves to laugh, and loves to make others laugh. She has the biggest heart, and sometimes, I’m afraid she may be a little smarter than I! She’s 7 going on 21, but she will always be my baby. I am so blessed to have this precious, healthy child in my midst. She has taught me that life’s too short not to dance when I hear music. That it is okay to spill Dr. Pepper on the floor three times in a row…that’s what carpet cleaner is for. And it’s okay if she gets dirt in her hair or paint on her shirt…that’s what shampoo and washers are for. Cherishing is taking these things with a grain of salt. Cherishing her is adoring her, admiring her, and appreciating her. I absolutely adore her sweet smile and her big vocabulary. I admire her for trying cheerleading, soccer, and gymnastics and being strong enough to say, “These things just aren’t for me.” I admire how she sees the good in everyone. And I appreciate how hard she works in school. I appreciate her loving me even though I’m not the perfect mom. She says I am and that’s all that matters.
Cherish…All I Really Need to Know rests in that one word. These two people have taught me to cherish, and the best thing of all, they cherish me too.