Raising Richmond: Dear Mom, You were right

As you know, Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and we thought it only appropriate for the moms who contribute to this column to take some time to show a little appreciation for the maternal wisdom they’ve received over the years.

Editor’s note: Today’s feature is the newest installment of our parenting column written by two sets of Richmonders: Jorge and Patience Salgado (veteran parents of four gorgeous children), and Ross and Valerie Catrow (parenting rookies who have only been doing this “raising a child thing” for a little while). Check back fortnightly to watch them discuss/agree/disagree/throw down over all kinds of parenting issues, Richmond-related and beyond.

As you know, Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and we thought it only appropriate for the moms who contribute to this column to show a little appreciation for their moms. So…

Today’s question: What was your mother right about all along?

Patience Salgado

Dear Mom,

I’m sure you thought this day would never come. I mean, how many children come back to their mothers confessing how right they were? I am investing in the trust bank by coming clean even now because today is a new day and we always have a chance to make things right. So yes, clean sheets do make a person feel better, and I try to take my Emergen-C everyday so I don’t get sick in the first place. I now know I should absolutely treat my illness symptomatically and Zicam only works if you take it right away. I must say having a nurse for a mother made being sick bearable.

You were right, Jorge is a nice boy, and I totally get how important it is to always work on your marriage. I can see how it will be the greatest gift I give my kids. Speaking of kids, I do love them all differently but with just as much passion. I feel the same way you do when you tell that story (for the 1,000th time) about that day you were sitting in McDonald’s, watching us play, wondering how you got us. My kids are the most special people, and I’m not sure how I got them either. Although, kids will break anything you care about and after a short time of being annoyed, I do realize that I don’t care that much about stuff in the first place.

I remember to take the wet washcloth in a Ziplock on all kid adventures — it is a must and it’s true that resourcefulness is a sign of intelligence. Just like you, I can now make an entire platter in the backseat of my car on the way to a party. I do realize I am a good organizer and I have used that sewing machine you insisted on buying me more than I ever imagined. You should know I am pushing myself in the things I don’t feel good at and I know I should keep trying.

When the chips are down I can see now that happiness is a choice. Even though my thoughts change daily about God, Jesus, and the like, I have felt, just like you say, something bigger comes to me in the dark and I am not alone. I’ll still totally take the prayers from your prayer ladies. I know it’s important to go to people when they are down, sad, sick, or dying, and I only stay a short while. I get more than anything that kindness is a way of life. I got that message big, Mom. It might have been the most important thing you have ever taught me. So thanks mom, thanks for being right about so much. Happy Mother’s Day!

Valerie Catrow

Dear Mom,

You and I didn’t spend much time arguing when I was growing up. I think we can attribute that to the fact that we are quite different. Some might assume that our differences would actually be the cause of conflict, but it seems that we’ve opted for a “You do your thing, I’ll do mine” approach to our relationship. But that’s not to say that you didn’t attempt to impart some school-of-life-knowledge on me as I was growing up. And that’s not to say I wasn’t listening.

You were right about a lot of things. Ok, if I’m being honest, if you made the point to explicitly tell me what was what about something, you were right more often than not. Here are few highlights that have stuck with me over the years, the mundane, the profound, and the mushy…

As much as I want to wear black all the time, I really do look my best when in purple, green, or bright blue.

Sunscreen is a must, even if I hate how it feels and smells. Thank you for harping on me about protecting my ridiculously fair skin. Not only have you saved me from horrific sun damage, you’re also saving my equally pasty child from a similar fate.

A hot bath and a good night’s sleep can solve most problems — or at least make them seem less scary.

Good manners are just as important as being smart, funny, or pretty.

Mental health days are essential for everyone, but especially for me, considering my tendency to be wound a little tight.

Dishes come out cleaner if you rinse them before putting them in the dishwasher, no matter what these new, fancy machines promise. And no matter how much I wish that weren’t true.

The comments on a report card are more important than the grades. Recognition for your positive attitude and respect for others trumps your GPA every time.

A little dirt never hurt anyone. A lot of dirt never really hurt anyone either.

I can’t please everyone all the time, and it’s not my job to do so. Doing my best has to be enough…for me and for everyone else.

I do have great eyelashes.

I am a good mother. You’ve been saying that to me (hell, practically chanting that at me) since I found out I was pregnant. It’s your response any time I express a concern or wish for my child and it’s what you say in passing as you watch he and I interact. Thanks for that — thanks for all of this. I think you’re a good mother, too.

Now it’s your turn

What was your mother right about?

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Patience Salgado

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