A Lesson Learned From My Mother

A mother and her family

My mother surrounded by her family (one son is not in the photo)

Last month my mother had a special birthday. I would tell you the number, but she’s sensitive about such things. So, I’ll leave you to speculate.

In honor of my mother’s birthday, her four children and their families got together.  We spent a couple of days at a resort in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

We hung out at a waterpark, watched football (yea Eagles – they won but really made us sweat), and ate cake. It was quality family time. Lots of fun.

While we were together, I shared a story about my mother. I’d like to share it with you as well.

My friends and I spent loads of time on our block playing sports. However, there was also a good deal of down time. We would sit on the steps in front of my house and talk about whatever young boys talk about.

We had a neighbor who lived around the block whose name was P. P. who was about 10 years older than my friends and me, was mentally challenged. During the summer, he used to enjoy riding his tricycle around the block.

P. would stop his tricycle in front of my friends, and me and say “hi.” His hi was loud and slurred and he kept waving his hand. P. would repeat “hi” a few times before eventually taking his leave and cycling down the block.

While my friends and I would mutter, “hi,” in response, we were embarrassed and didn’t know what to say or how to act. We were relieved when he left and would reengage in our conversation and act as if P. had never appeared.

Around the summer I turned 11, P. went through a phase. P. would kiss random women, smile, and go away.  Yes, P. had become the kissing bandit.

One summer afternoon, my friends and I were hanging out on the steps in front of my house. Someone came up and told me, “P. kissed your mom.”


“Yeah, he just kissed her and went away.”

“Oh.” I was embarrassed for mom, but I didn’t know what to say.

My friends were abuzz over the news. However when my mom approached the house, everyone scattered.

As my mother walked up the steps, I fell in next to her. “Hi mom.”

“Hi dear. How was your day?”


“Mom, did P. kiss you?”

“Yes, he did.”

“What did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything.”

“What? Why not? Aren’t you upset? ”

“No. He didn’t mean anything by it.”

“But Mom he’s been kissing girls all around the neighborhood.”

“He is just trying to be friendly. He’s not able to communicate with people the way you can. He doesn’t understand.”

But I did.

And in that moment my mother taught me some lessons that I carry to this day. I learned about appreciating others. I learned that not everyone is the same. I learned about empathy.

My mother is the humblest person I know. However, I gained wisdom from seeing her act.

May she have many more years of good health and joy.

I have much more to learn.

25 thoughts on “A Lesson Learned From My Mother

  1. Hi Larry,
    I am glad your mother taught you a great lesson and I wish her many more years with you and her family too! 🙂
    Larry, I also wish you and your family a beautiful and happy new year !!!
    hope this year will bring you a lot of joy to yours and happy surprises too! 🙂
    Happy 2014

  2. As we say – Till 120. We are blessed that we know your Mom. What a warm friendly woman she is. I look forward to everytime i see her. Whenever she needs a taxi ride to the train station, im available

  3. Great family picture Larry. Mothers are the most amazing teachers, may she keep teaching you valuable lessons for many more years.

  4. This is a really nice story. Your mom handled it graciously! Thanks for sharing. I think people like P. are special, they get it. sometimes I think we are the ones with the disability…..we need to strive to have the innocence and genuine love that they give. Thanks Larry!

  5. What a beautiful story. She sounds like a lovely woman. Best wishes for a wonderful new year to you and your family, Larry!

  6. What a wonderful story that tells what an amazing woman your mom is! Thank you for sharing such a story, it reminds me how much as a mother I have to teach my son and I hope to do so with even half as much grace as your mom showed.

  7. I am always mesmerized by kids like P. Yiannis has someone at school with Down syndrome and I am trying to teach him that he should always be kind and take care of kids who are different because that is what they need the most.
    I think your mother gave you a fine example on how to react to uncomfortable situations in a simple yet understanding and compassionate way. Pretty priceless lesson.
    May she have many more birthdays to come and may you, your wife and the boys have a fantastic year!!

    • Thanks T – on her behalf.
      It is definitely not an easy lesson to teach our kids. They will come in contact with such children and it is opportunity to really do a good thing. When you treat such people with respect etc., it is so commendable.

  8. I am always mesmerized by kids like P.
    Yiannis has a boy with down syndrome at school and I have explained to him that he must always be kind and take care of him cause kids like him need it the most. The reaction your mother had to the kiss incident with P. was simple, yet honest and compassionate. What a priceless lesson she gave you back then. May she have many more birthdays to come and may you, your wife and the boys have a fantastic 2014!

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