I’m a lucky woman. I have four amazing children who are both brilliant and infuriating – often in the same day. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How did I get here?
When I look at my own parenting – full of giggles, cuddle time, dinner conversations, over-reactions, scraped knees, tears and too many stains to count I’m in a bit of awe. How did I go from the three-year old girl who would hide in the closet anytime someone dared to say hello, to the woman I am today? How is it I’m able to look past all the what-ifs that plague mothers and focus on what’s next?
I keep coming down to one simple truth – I have no idea! But I do know something very important shaped who I am today as a mother, daughter, wife, marketer, speaker, facilitator and friend. My mother. She did something extremely important and that was to expose me to all kinds of ideas and strong role models.
Growing up I knew very clearly how my mom felt about too short skirts and dedication to my school work. I yearned for her affection even when I pushed it away. We had the luxury of visiting exotic sites and historic marvels across much of Africa, Europe and Asia. But it’s not the buildings I remember, or the hours and hours of flights. It’s the laughter we shared when we couldn’t eat a never-ending bowl of noodles with chopsticks. Or the “study cocoa” mom made when I had a big exam – even when it was 90 degrees out! Most of all I remember the appreciation my mom had for woman of all backgrounds.
My mom made sure I was always surrounded by woman of all ages who had passions different from her own. I learned from my mom what it meant to be a friend; how to appreciate the good in others, even when it was hard to find. Most of all I learned from my mom that to BE was to be part of a community. You could either embrace that community with enthusiasm – or you could wither away, and withering was not in Mom’s vocabulary.
If the water was out we showered in the rain. If there was no Girl Scout troop in our country she would make one. An important part of my community was always my mom, but also the amazing women she encircled around me. Whether it was my great-aunt who I might go months or years without seeing, or family friends who celebrated Thanksgiving with us on the beach, there was always someone to admire and to learn from.
In the most direct way my mom shaped who I am today. It wasn’t just who she was that mattered, it was watching her cherish all the other strong women in our lives that had the most impact.
Thank you Mom.