I took my mother to have her hair done this morning. She is 89 years old and in reasonably good health. She doesn't drive, so it falls mostly to my sister and me (when I'm home) to help her make her weekly shopping and personal trips. Just because she doesn't drive (she never has) doesn't mean she can't tell me how to drive or where to park.
There is no one who had a greater impact on my life than my mother. Even with limited education, she taught me the value of hard work and supreme organization. She also taught me that there is such a thing as over-planning, for any change to my mother's plans would cause her to go into a tizzy of worry. I can remember being so early for our church services that the previous service had not even let out yet. So I am punctual, but not early like she was.
My mother also had and has an opinion about most anything, which she will gladly share with you whether you want to hear or not. Some of her more memorable sayings and questions are:
1. "If you can't say it in five minutes, then don't say it." She taught me to be brief and succinct when I speak.
2. "Did you speak or rather, did you yell?" She taught me to contain my emotion and use it for important points when I speak, not as a general style.
3. "You gummed up the works!" That was her saying when something happened to ruin her perfect plan. Sometimes she was right, but often her propensity for planning had made her rigid. I learned how not to be like that.
4. "That was poor planning." That was her way of saying I could have done a better job of organizing, her strategy for most any problem.
5. "They're greedy." This is my mother's synopsis for the ills of the world, whether it be sports, entertainment or business. And in many ways, she's right.
6. "You didn't gain weight here." My mother did not allow anyone to refuse her hospitality, which usually comprised of wonderful baked goods. If they said they were on a diet, then she would say, "Eat! You didn't gain your weight here."
7. "What are you doing with your life?" If my mother strongly objected to a life decision you had made, she would ask you this question. It really did make you think and at least have an answer ready for her challenge.
My mother taught me to love sports--she is a big Pirates and Steelers fan--a love she obtained from her father and my grandfather who came to the United States early last century from Ukraine. But mostly Mother Stanko gave me confidence that I could do things that she never could. So for the years she has left, it is an honor to take her to have her hair done--even if she does tell me how to drive!