Things I Learned from My Mom
Here are a few things more specific than the above:
When I was a preschooler, she would put just a little extra effort into making a nutritious snack into something special. She would cut buttered whole-wheat toast into thin strips and arrange them around a tiny dish filled with honey and call that "Pooh Bear's Snack", or she would cut matchstick strips of cheese and use them to spell my name on a lacquered tray.
She summons me (this still happens!) to be an Expert Consultant in some area where she's noticed I have a strength. For example, if she was unhappy w/the living room furniture arrangement, she would give me a list of issues to resolve and ask me to sketch some alternative arrangements. It makes me feel so important
and helps her solve a problem, too!
Both parents humored me in various elaborate endeavors, like playing Town and sticking up street signs on all the door frames. I remember once bringing two friends from one of their houses (where we'd been playing until yelled at by the mom) over to mine, saying, "MY mom will let us build a house by putting blankets over the chairs, AND she'll let us leave it up for a couple of days!"
When I read a book or short story that I particularly liked, one or both parents would borrow (for years I was operating a library out of my bedroom, and they faithfully complied w/the checkout procedures, as well as attending my book review presentations
) and read it. Then we could talk about it together. They also recommended books to me and read aloud things they thought I would like.
For every birthday, I got a party of my own design, within reason. Mom would bake the cake in my choice of flavor and style and wasn't afraid to try new things---when I wanted an Eeyore cake, she made a valiant attempt at gray frosting which came out periwinkle! When I was younger, there were games for which she would make props---once I wanted to play "Pin the Door on the Refrigerator"
so she drew an open fridge on a big sheet of cardboard and asked me to name things that should go in it, drawing them one by one as I named them. As I got older, most of the games were informal and kid-directed, but we usually had dinner, which was something like pizza or tacos for which Mom would prepare components and then supervise assembly of custom meals by the kids. These parties were much more fun than the "package" parties at the skating rink or fast food restaurant that a lot of other kids had...and one of the best things about them was that when they were over, my parents would say, "That was fun! We should have parties more often!"