Mother’s Day is 10 days away. In the next week, we will be bombarded with ads on TV, hear commercials on the radio, and get tons of stuff in the mail that promote the “perfect” gift for Mom this year. But if they are sending those mailers to everyone, how do they know that their product, item or service is perfect for your mom? How many of us really know our moms, like who she was before she was “mom?”
All of our moms are different, and each one is a multifaceted person in her own right. For some of us, our moms are no longer with us and we experience a little melancholy on Mother’s Day. Some people simply aren’t very close to their moms, and some may have a step mother, aunt, older sister, or mother-in-law that fills that void.
Although I’d be honored if you chose a piece of my jewelry for your mom, this tale isn’t meant to be all “sales pitchy.” It’s more of a confession. I want to tell you about my mom, some important lessons I’ve learned about motherhood since she’s been gone, and some of the other wonderful women that have taken over role of mother and grandmother in my life.
A little background first. For both my parents, their marriage was a second go round, and I was kind of an oops. My mom gave birth to me 1 day before her 45th birthday. They each had a daughter from their previous marriages that oddly enough happened to be born only 3 days apart, and both my half-sisters are 17 years older than me. I remember being embarrassed of my mom, because she was older than most of my friend’s grandparents. When all of us were out together, I cannot tell you how many times people assumed my sister was my mom, and mom was my grandmother. I’m pretty sure I was quite awful to her during those years.
Always a trendsetter, she passed her late-life mommy legacy on to me. I had my daughter shortly before my 40th birthday, proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Mom was born in 1919, grew up during the Depression, and really came of age in the 1930’s and 40’s, when ladies really knew how to dress, and were influenced by such icons as Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, and Joan Crawford. Women simply did not leave the house without being “put together.” My mom held steadfast to this rule until the day she died. She never left the house without looking like a million bucks. I’m talking matching shoes and handbag, hat, lipstick, jewelry, the whole bit. She would run the Electrolux vacuum in a dress and high heels, and wore and apron while fixing dinner. Can you even imagine? We couldn’t have been more different. When I’m in my creative zone, I’ll sometimes go 2 or 3 days in the same sweat pants without even looking in the mirror!
Mom and dad met at work. He was a professional engineer, having gone to school on the GI bill after being an Army Air Corp 1st lieutenant flight instructor during WWII. She was working as a switchboard operator at his plant. My dad was a pretty snappy dresser too. Until he retired, I only saw him in 2 types of clothes: suit, tie and hat complete with an attache case, or outdoor clothing like wool buffalo plaid and camouflage. He was the consummate outdoorsman, having grown up in the mountains of West Virginia.
Naturally, as their relationship progressed, my dad introduced mom to his world, and although I think it must’ve seemed quite foreign to her at first, she embraced it whole heartedly because she was in love. She’d never been camping in her life, and here she was, being thrown into it face first, well before anything like fancy travel trailers or motor homes with air conditioning, heat, showers and bathrooms. This was tent camping and the bathroom was behind the biggest tree!
But here’s the thing. Even out there in the middle of the wilderness, she still managed to look beautiful. She was just one of those people that looked good no matter what, with a smile that lit up like the sun. When I leave the house without makeup, people always ask me what’s wrong, or say “you look tired.” Great ego boost, huh?
How is this story relevant to my business and a jewelry blog? It probably isn’t except it explains the origins of many of my designs, because they didn’t stop exploring the mountains just because they had me. They simply drug me along for the ride. It was great when I was a little kid, but then as I got older, it just wasn’t fun anymore. I wanted to be with my friends.
In her later years, still the fashionista, Mom was my walking billboard. She always wore my jewelry and loved to tell people all about it. I wish she was still here to see how far I’ve come. When my daughter was born, mom loved to tell people she waited 87 years for her first grandchild! I also wish she had stuck around a little longer so she could have gotten to know my daughter who is very much a girly-girl. I was more of a daddy's girl, and never felt like I quite measured up.
At the very end, dementia took over, and her whole personality changed. We lost her in 2011 at age 92. Fortunately for me, I have been blessed with the greatest mother-in-law ever, and the mothers of my 4 best friends in the world are there for me and my daughter at all times.
Here’s the lesson part of my story: Karma is a powerful thing. Now that my daughter is a teenager, I am a huge source of embarrassment for her. She is so mortified by the fact that I drive a pickup truck instead of an SUV, I am forbidden to pick her up at school for fear her friends will see. My first instinct is to get all defensive and call her out on it, but then I remember how I felt about my mom at that age and I let it go. I wish I could go back and tell my mom that I get it now, and I’m sorry. I hope she knows that somehow.
Nevertheless, I celebrate my mom as well as all the other wonderful women that have stepped up to the plate as surrogate mothers and grandmothers these last few years. So, remember, celebrate and appreciate your mom this Mother’s Day, and every other day for that matter.
Do you have a funny story or confession about your mom you’d like to share? Please comment below. I’d love to hear that I’m not the only one with all these mixed up feelings! And if you know someone else that this story might resonate with, share away!
If you are still in need of a gift for your mom or someone like a mom, you can check out my designs here. I am offering a free pair of 99.9% fine silver post earrings with any purchase, and shipping is free through Mother’s Day. I’d also like to invite you to join my new Facebook Group AA Jewelry & Co. - Company as in people coming over to hang out, not company as in business. It’s a relaxed group where we can share more stories like this as well as behind the scenes peeks of my messy jewelry studio, trade ideas, vent, and provide inspiration for each other.