We are all shaped by our parents, to some extent. In most cases, a very great extent. On this Mother's Day, a small part of what my mom has given me. (We'll get to dad later.)
Whether dealing with a herd of rambunctious sons, teaching elementary and middle school, or dealing with the many twists of life, my mother has consistently showed amazing patience. I can count on one hand the number of times I remember seeing her truly angry. I know she gets frustrated like anyone else, but most of the time you'd never know it. She's my example when I need to keep my own cool.
I first learned the facts about my faith from my parents. Some of my earliest memories are family Bible story times and songs. (The singing was mostly dad, as one of my mother's few faults is a tendency to be only in the general vicinity of the melody.) More important than the facts, though, was that my parents lived the tenets of their faith through their actions. My mom's patience, empathy, and constant support of everyone around her taught me more about those aspects of life than any Bible story ever could.
My mom is a historian and a fan of trivia. (Which one could argue is the same thing in many cases. Not that I'd ever make such an argument.) My fondness for either of those isn't as deep as hers, but I've certainly been known to watch the occasional Jeopardy episode or play a game of Trivial Pursuit with no outside prompting. I absolutely love historical or alternate-history fiction, which largely depends on knowing the real history on which it is based. Mom instilled the desire to learn that history in me, and to this day I'll go out of my way to find interesting takes on historical events (such as Extra History).
On this Mother's Day, I'm several thousand miles and many time zones from my mom, so I can't visit in person. Fortunately, technology gives me the means to say "I love you" and "Happy Mother's Day" from wherever we each happen to be. Love you, Mom!