Things You Didn’t Realize You Were Teaching Me

Dear Mom,

Looking back there are lessons you methodically taught us as children. They were planned, they were consistent and they were reinforced. Never lie. Work hard. Say please and thank you. Eat your veggies. Yellow light means floor it. The list is ceaseless. Through all of your meticulously executed lessons, there were some you couldn’t plan – I don’t think you even realized you were teaching them…

The Most Powerful Voice is Not Always the Loudest.

Your presence is always known and your input always wise, but you’re never shouting it from the rooftops. You have a way of quietly listening that is unmatched. You’re present when someone is talking in the sense that you’re not listening just so you can respond, but so you can understand – making your response well-versed. You don’t get loud and agitated when someone disagrees, even after explanation.  You are patient and encouraging. The soft voice with me every day reminding me that everyone is different in ways I might not understand or relate to, but nevertheless cannot change (and that’s okay).

Nothing Says You Care More Than Showing Up

Show up, and do so consistently. Day in and day out, you were there. Even when I moved out you were (and still are) a phone call away. To be there when someone needs you is one thing, but to be there for the little things makes the difference. You were determined not to miss a thing. If I had a game, I knew I could look up in the stands and find you there. If I had a presentation, you were there. Through the good, the bad and the ugly, as well as everything in between – you showed up. You taught me that we don’t only need each other in the hard times, we need each other through all the times. We don’t have to be at our best to show up, but we need to do our best to show up.

Demand Respect

First and foremost, you taught us to give respect, even to those you might not think deserve it – we’re all human and that counts for something.  That was one of your planned lessons. The one you didn’t plan was in the way you refused to talk to us when we were yelling. The way you demand to be respected as a women who doesn’t need a man to do anything for her. It continues to be taught in the take no bullshit in the most respectful way possible approach you take to work. You know your worth and you demand that people respect that and it’s flat out inspiring.

Calling it Day Isn’t Giving Up, It’s Letting Yourself Become Stronger for Tomorrow.

I’ve seen you fight many battles – some you didn’t realize I was aware of and even some that still aren’t over. You are persistent and resilient. You do not give up, but sometimes you do call a time out. You understand that everything is a process. You’re not going to get it right the first time, or even the second, third or fourth time. Sometimes your strength is taken and you need to recuperate before going for another around. That’s expected and perfectly okay. Call it a day, or even a week. You’re not giving up, you’re getting stronger.  You will persist.


The older I get, the more admiration I develop for who you are today and the path that has brought you here.  I couldn’t be more proud to say you’re my mother, my best friends and my number one mentor. I hope to one day fill shoes as big as yours – but until then I plan to keep learning from you.

Love Always,


Kara Carter

Kara is a originally from Gordonsville, Virginia and is a recent graduate of James Madison University. She is now pursuing her career in Nutrition and Dietetics in the D.C./Maryland area. When Kara isn’t thinking about, talking about, making, photographing or actually eating food, she enjoys adventuring outside, running half marathons and spending time with her chinchillas, Milo and Asher.

Leave a Reply