This weekend, my mom came for a visit and helped me paint my garage. It was an arduous task. The garage has needed a paint job since the day I moved in. With its three colors of paint, the writing with a black marker, and drips and drops of God only knows what, it was the last frontier of a house that has had a lot of sweat and love poured into it.

The job was even harder than I had expected. We painted a section of the ceiling that had been dark pink with four coats of flat white paint, and there are still shadows peeking through. My step ladder was barely tall enough for me to do the trimming, and I underestimated how much paint we would need and had to run to the hardware store right in the middle of the job.

When our deadline of 7 p.m. arrived, I was ready to quit and just finish the job another day. But my mom talked me into continuing. She was convinced that we would be able to finish in just an hour or so. And she was right. By 8 p.m., everything was cleaned up and we were ordering pizza.

My mom’s persistence is one of the deepest traits of her character. When I was young, I saw this quality as a fear of change. From my adult perspective, however, I see this as perseverance.

I recently remembered a story that felt really significant in light of my adult perspective on Mom’s stick-to-it-iveness. During my last year of school, I was cut from the volley ball team. It was a good choice by the coach. There were underclassmen who were more talented than I was. But the disappointment was acute.

In spite of that, I offered to be the team manager so that I could still be part of the team, which many of my friends were on. The next day after I was cut, I packed my duffel bag again and arranged with my mom to pick me up from practice. She hugged me and told me how proud she was of me. “I could never have stuck with this after being cut from the team.”

I was touched at the time, but in hindsight, this comment is even more meaningful because I see just all my mom HAS stuck with.

This past Sunday, after we had finished painting and were getting ready for church, I told my mom how much I admired all the things she had persevered in over the years. I could have just used those same words, told her I appreciated this quality. And she would have been touched.

But instead, so she would really understand how important her example has been to me, I told her the story of my senior year and the volleyball team. And how after all those years, I remembered that moment.

The compliment stuck.

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