Mothers are special. Who else but a mother could push a bowling-ball sized baby out of a way-too-small space, or be sliced open to remove said bowling ball, or endure years of gut-wrenching adoption processes, or whatever else a mother must go through to earn that title, to then spend years lugging that little thing - which is increasingly growing heavier - everywhere, constantly work to feed, nurture, protect, and teach them, endure misguided abuse as they begin to think for themselves and, inevitably, decide for a while that their mother, in spite of all she's done, is the worst, and still, inexplicably, love this person with a particular, sometimes even illogical kind of fierceness.
Our mothers are people, above all else; as individual, nuanced, and flawed as any other. For Mother's Day, I wanted to capture a glimpse into the intimate beauty of a few real-life mother-child relationships. So Jimbo and I reached out to a few friends with the simple prompt: "How does your mother inspire you?"
From Fiona, of her mom Bernadette:
Looking back it’s hard to discern exactly when my mother most inspired me. Was it her fun science experiment she showed my preschool class that involved a bottle of root beer exploding? Was it when she was one of the only moms who could climb to the top of the rope at my gymnastics gym? Maybe it was when she showed me and my sisters how to change a spare tire or how to learn the function of all the tools in the tool kit.
Or maybe it was when she showed me that it was possible to raise three daughters on her own, work a full time job, maintain a home, care for her own father, and do it all with love. She did this at the same time that she encouraged me and my sisters to strive for whatever we wanted and have no doubt that we could achieve it.
Now during this pandemic, she has stepped up to be a part of a COVID task force, she’s hand sewn my family masks, made us natural lotions for stress relief, planted a garden, offered me continued help on my medical school applications, and shown me that her inspiration never stops.
El amor de madre es un amor infinito, es el fruto en el viento, y simplemente un regalo de Dios.
A mother’s love is infinite, it’s the beauty of life and the ultimate gift from God. For this gift I am forever grateful. You, mother, are the most beautiful, loving, brave, resilient and selfless gift of all time.
You are and will always be my MVP, Mami. You were never too busy for us, you never complained about exhaustion from working two jobs, you made personal sacrifices at a young age to provide a better life for us, and you were always our closest friend and biggest supporter.
I am forever grateful for you Diomeris, without you in our lives I don’t know where Che, dad or I would be. I will forever cherish and value you, mother, for everything you have done for me and the family. You have always been my role model, dating back to before I even knew what that word meant.
Te amo mami,
Weathering Mother’s Day with a dead Mom is not for the faint of heart. Based on experience, I’ve instituted the following hard and fast rules: don’t go to the pharmacy, don’t check your email, and don’t for any reason engage with social media. (Seriously, are the algorithms mad at me?) So, to appease the robots, this Mother’s Day I’m considering the ways my mother Patricia continues to inspire me:
While Mom was slowly dying from colon cancer and even her language was atrophied, she told me, ‘You are stronger than you know’.
‘How could I be the strong one?’ I thought. Still her A.A. Milne alluding echo tells me so, and these days I’m starting to trust that she knew what she was talking about.
Mom was already very sick by the time my husband and I were married. She attended the wedding, though months later I would see the simultaneous joy of pride and anguish of not remembering in her face when we spoke of it. ‘Does she remember now?’ I often wonder. I know there was a point at which she did remember because of the package that arrived at our first apartment together. It contained a bizarre grouping of mismatched used kitchen utensils. ‘This is my wedding present?’ I thought.
Actually, Pat was famous for sending random and puzzling assortments of sundries to various family members at holidays, birthdays, or any old day (and sometimes mislabeling the packages). Her habits like this could be highly entertaining, or infuriating to those related to her. But with distance, I am learning to see that there was some magic, if not quite logic, in her curious methods.
Some few years after she passed, it dawned on me that each item she sent in that wedding gift was among the most used and useful in my kitchen: a quarter cup measurer with a long handle, the perfect sized pot, a small sieve that fits over a bowl, and a knife that can cut anything. And as a housewife of 50 years, she would know about that. I didn’t have any idea about this when she passed four months after I was married. The realization set in slowly, meal by meal, bake by bake. Small moments every day of thanking my Mom for knowing what I needed before I did. She knew what she was talking about, even if we didn’t usually understand her. Thank you Mom, I love you.
Our own Jimbo:
My brothers and I are very lucky.
Our friends are lucky too.
Growing up, our house was the place to be because our Mom created a space for kids just to be kids. She gave us a lot of freedom, and with that came an unspoken trust to be respectful and responsible. There were no curfews, and we almost never got grounded if we stepped out of line. Instead we communicated, and had a very honest, transparent relationship that allowed us to grow and gain a deeper understanding of how to be better people.
The older I get, the more I realize how unique it was that our friends could pop over at really any time; our friends were just part of the family. When I say my Mom is a Mom to many, that’s the truth. Her unconditional love knows no bounds. Even now, with myself and my brothers living many miles from home, Momma Joan will open her doors to our friends that live in New York City so they can get out of the concrete heat for a weekend in the summer. She is a steward of community, and also of the Earth.
My Mom has been gardening since before I was born, and many of my earliest memories are getting the gardens ready in Spring. She has a deep connection to our land, and over the past few years has become deeply passionate about native plant gardening and its ability to sustain healthy ecosystems. It is very much because of her that the Conscious Garden Project exists as it does today.
It's also because of the arthritis that she eventually developed in her wrists from all the gardening that Jules and I set out to make a CBD salve in the first place - using all natural, sustainably sourced materials from this Earth she taught me to love so much.
Momma Joan is my ultimate teacher, and one of her greatest lessons is that true happiness is found in the service of others. I remember being at dinner in New York City when I was nine, our first trip there as a family, when she bought an extra meal for a homeless woman outside. She said to us that everyone deserves a meal, and that it is up to us to make sure that happens. It was a small act of kindness in the grand scheme of things, but this is her essence - a deep commitment to selfless humanity.
And finally, myself, to my mom Sherry:
Momma, how did I get so lucky? Without ever trying to, you have inspired me in every facet of my life. When you decided to follow your passions, go back to school, and change your career at age 50, you taught me and my siblings that it's possible and okay to break the mold in order to pursue happiness.
As you changed your career from graphic designer to Health and Wellness Coach (and eventually teacher in the program), you transformed as a person and a mother, too. Through my most impressionable and foundational years as a teenage girl, I had the privilege of watching you learn to love yourself. By following your own path to heal yourself and embody the beautiful, healing presence that you are, you gave me permission to take that same internal dive to begin uncovering who I am at my core.
Without your example and constant, selfless support (and frequent complementary coaching sessions...), I wouldn't have found the courage to follow my heart in so many instances, including starting this business...and eventually this blog!
Not to mention, you inspired Jimbo & Jules in a very literal sense, too. I've always learned by watching you - from design, to cooking, to making essential oil blends. After all, your homemade blends inspired James and I to start making our own years ago.. which eventually merged with CBD and evolved into a whole line of wellness products!
Thank you for being you, and in turn teaching me how to be me.
To all the loving moms in the world: in spite of flaws and mistakes, whether you know it or not, from grand stories of heroism and devotion to the simplest acts of love, you inspire us to learn, to grow, and to open our hearts to the world around us. And for that, we thank you.
Happy Mother's Day!