By way of her college education, my mom is a teacher just like her mom. But for me she's also been a teacher at home.
She taught the usual lessons of childhood: how to tie my shoes (from her left-handed perspective, though I'm a righty); to look both ways before I cross the street; to make frosted sugar cookies at holidays.
She taught me and my siblings to "love one another," and now that we're all older than 25 I know we really do.
And indirectly, over the years, she taught me to appreciate some of life's little joys: the soothing sound of a rain shower as you fall asleep; the forsythia's first burst of spring color; the crisp feel and smell of clean bedsheets.
She tried to teach me patience, a lesson that never really took.
While in junior high my mom encouraged me to join the school newspaper, an idea I found a bit bizarre. Who wants to work on a newspaper?
A few years later, I tried it and I liked it, leaving her other career suggestion engineering and my years of high school calculus in the dust. Oh well.
When I have a big decision to make, I find myself creating a list of pros and cons. Guess where I got that?
And I learned the power of a single vote and the value of community service from her stint as a Lawrence school board member.
Though we aren't big movie-goers, for some reason my mom and I did go see "When Harry Met Sally" together while I was in college. At the end, we both sat teary-eyed (something inherited, rather than learned).
On the drive home she said to me: "Be sure you marry a friend."
I did her one better: I married my best friend, someone who makes me laugh and feel loved every day.
Thanks, mom, for that lesson.
But perhaps the best and most important thing she taught me came right from the start.
When she talks about my birth, my mom always recalls how I stared into her eyes with unwavering intensity.
For there, I know, I found unconditional love and support. And I have ever since.
Throughout the last nine months, as I've neared my first Mother's Day as a mom, I've thought about what kind of mom I want to be.
I want to be a teacher: of love, laughter and life's little joys. Just like my mom.
Susie Fagan, assistant features editor at the Journal-World, is on maternity leave. She and her husband, Mark, a Journal-World and 6News reporter, are expecting their first child any day now.