With Mother's Day coming up Sunday, I figure this is as good a time as any to offer up some much-needed motherly wisdom.I assume it goes without saying that I am not a mother myself. While I have been called one on multiple occasions, it was never meant literally or in a way that could be appropriately repeated in a family paper.I am also not the sort to offer advice from someone else's perspective. Absent a womb and the other lady bits that make mothering possible, I refrain from pretending to see things “through a woman's eyes.” I like to think I'm as sensitive as the next guy, but getting in touch with my feminine side would require more red wine and therapy than I'm up for right now.So the advice I offer today comes from some of history's greatest mothers, namely mine and my daughters'. I realize this is a slim pool from which to draw, but the sample size in no way undermines the fact that it's darn good advice. If anyone wants to suggest some better sources for the information, they can feel free to do so in their own column.Truth told, neither my mother nor wife are the sort of women known for what would typically be considered “words of wisdom.” My mother spent more than half a century married to my father, who was a colloquial poet of considerable renown, so she left most of the witticisms to him. As for my wife, well she married me, so most of her best lines, at least since 1995, have been used up apologizing for her husband's attempts at raillery.Absent slogans and catchphrases, my mother conveyed her wisdom in the one way that truly matters, with action. She worked hard, moved fast and did not suffer fools. She was (and still is) ferociously protective of her family, even when they acted like idiots, which was the case more times than any of us would like to admit. More than anything, she taught me that family is important, maybe the most important thing, and it comes with responsibility. In short, she taught me that we take care of our own.The greatest example of that lesson occurred in the years before I was ever born. My parents were relatively fresh to marriage when my dad's mother moved in. She was twice-widowed at the time and no longer able to live alone so, like pretty much everyone else in my family at one point or another, she came to live at our house. I don't recall having met my grandmother. She died before I got old enough to be wholly conscious of the world. But by most accounts, she was a challenging woman. Even my ever-faithful father admitted she had been a touch cold and distant as mamas go, and age did not soften her. She had a hard life, and it made her angry. And from the stories I would hear later in life, a good bit of that anger was turned on my mom.Grandma was convinced her boy had married beneath himself, which is ironic because my father was a man convinced he had married a woman so far out of his league he joked that he'd have to suffer some in the afterlife to make up for it. Her son's happiness didn't keep my grandmother from abusing his bride. She insulted and griped and occasionally wandered off in feigned disgust. In short, she was mean. Still, she stayed. My mother, a nurse by vocation and nature, cared for her like one of her own, all the while brushing off the verbal slings. And years later, when she was asked how she put up with that nasty old woman, her answer was simple. She was family.Other family members came to live with us over time. Another set of grandparents, distant cousins. If someone needed a place, ours was available. Mom insisted. We took care of our own.Years later, I see the same lesson expounded on by my own wife. Having grown up the eldest of five children, with parents who both suffered from acute mental illness and addictions, she developed a soft heart for children in need. She got out of the house as soon as she turned 18, only to return a year later to remove two younger sisters and take them in as her own. Two decades later, she was taking in a young niece and nephew who needed a safe space while their own mother got her act together. It doesn't stop with family. Through the years, our home has been sanctuary to friends of our own children in need of a steady space while their parents went through the sort of drama some families breed. I don't recall ever being consulted on the subject, I'd just come home to find another little girl at the dinner table and my wife's cheery announcement that little Susie or Kelly would be staying with us for awhile.I don't know for sure whether our own daughters have picked up on those lessons or not. I know they have never thought twice about inviting friends to stay, and I like to think they are warmer hearted than most. But they are teenage girls, so you never know if a lesson sticks, no matter how valuable.And they are valuable lessons. From their grandmother, they learned that families look out for their own. From their mother, they pick up that, in our house, everyone's family.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.