My mom’s birthday is in April. It’s also on Earth Day – which for her, is perfect. She’s a matriarchal mother nature of sorts, and is an avid gardener. Then with Mother’s Day just past us, she’s been on my mind.
I’ve written about my parents before and I’m eternally grateful for their love and support. Now, I want to share 10 truths or pieces of wisdom I’ve picked up from her over the year.
1. Always have organic, extra-virgin olive oil in your kitchen: I remember one year when she came to visit, she was appalled at my olive oil choice selection (or lack thereof) in my kitchen. In my early 20’s I wasn’t too concerned about that and it’s expensive. We’re very Italian, so she came back with two high quality bottles, clucking her tongue at me. Now, I’m always cognizant of my olive oil selection.
2. Perseverance for what you want (oh, and our cultural heritage on being Italian): My mom started the process for us to gain our Italian Citizenship and we all weren’t sure how it would unfold. As the journey began, I couldn’t believe how many hours, paperwork and quite literally years, that it took for her to complete the process. She researched online, she made friends with others going through the same process, she connected with a judge and ensured our grandparents confirmed that the last name was changed in the immigration process (no one could understand those Italian names and accents), and she uncovered the needed paperwork in hidden hope chests. We went / flew to the Italian Consulate in Chicago multiple times, and she never gave up. For things she believes in, she takes it seriously and this story alone always reminds me that we don’t give up. We persevere.
3. What a self-defeating belief means and how it doesn’t serve anyone: Try growing up with a mother as a life coach. Actually, I feel lucky but I often joke being 10 and my mom demanding, “That’s a self-defeating belief and doesn’t serve you,” when I was lamenting about how bad I was at math or that I wasn’t good enough.
4. How important friendship is. My dad has always traveled for his business and as a gemologist. My mom told me she knew in marrying him, that she had to be “okay” with it, and accept he may be gone more than other husbands (physically that is). Over the years, my mom has always had a steady group of girlfriends. She is committed to cultivating those relationships and now as “empty-nesters”, she’s having a ball with girlfriends. She has had master-mind groups (discussing their vision for their life and career), women’s groups, walking groups, writing groups, Italian group, etc. I’m not kidding, she regularly has gone to these groups and friendships for years (often 10-15+ years with the same friends). She has her hands in many different worlds and as I look at my life, I’m just like her. I love how engaged she is and how much fun she is having in her life with friends.
5. Fresh flowers brighten any room. In college or my younger years, I couldn’t be bothered to have a bouquet of flowers in my apartment. Now, I love how they brighten up the room. My mom and her dad (my grandfather) are longtime gardeners. She’s constantly working on our yard, the garden plots and beautifying things around her. She cares about those aesthetics and there are always interesting flowers (she knows all the names) in our kitchen at home. Now, I love buying flowers or picking some up at the farmers market. Especially in the warmer months, you’ll now usually see a bouquet of fragrant flowers on my coffee table or kitchen. It’s the little things and my mom passed that onto me.
6. The centrality of the kitchen table and dinners together, nightly. Growing up, up until my last day of high school my mom insisted on dinners together as a family. We never watched TV while we ate, we sat at our dining room table, and quite often it was a homemade meal (both my parents are great cooks). We even would do encouragement feasts that my brother and I would whine about, but who gets to go around the table and talk about what we loved about the other as a youngin’?! Now, I can look back and feel warm and fuzzy about it. Now, I know it’s something within reason, that I want in my own family someday. We ate good food to fill our belly, and family is so central so our life I know it’s how I want to operate always.
7. The importance of a bed skirt. Now this one, I might not agree with, but it’s too funny to not include. Similar to olive oil and flowers, my mom laments when she comes to visit that I don’t have a bed skirt for my bed. Honestly, just not a priority in my life right now and it’s not my style. I get texts from her with pictures of a bedskirt while she’s shopping saying, “What do you think of this one?” Or asking, can she even just send me one if she buys it would I use it? I think it’s all about putting forth the way you want to look and be, and dammit, having that bed skirt matters (to her at least). Note: I have yet to rock a bed skirt. Shh, don’t tell her.
8. The power of thought. My mom is constantly reminding me that what we put out in the universe, is quite literally, what we’re requesting and manifesting. She has countless stories of ways you can manifest and create what you want in front of you. I cringe when I think negatively, and it happens to all of us, and although we can’t say that in X amount of days, if you “want” it enough, it will just appear, we at least know that it’s better than thinking of the alternative. She is a big vision board advocate, and this year I created one for the house I desire and the life I desire. She still says, she willed our beautiful home through her vision board and didn’t even think a house like ours existed. The vision down to the colors of the walls were the same.
9. You are what you eat. My mom is proactively non-GMO, eats organic, has gardened our whole life and even as little kids we ate high quality food. She cares so much about the way we eat, she would go out of her way to ensure it was possible. There was rarely frozen or canned food in our house, and far before it was trendy or even well-known, we were learning about how to eat, what to put into our bodies, and why it was important. Our body is a temple, let’s be careful there.
10. Snail mail. My mom taught me to send hand-written thank you cards, and that care packages always brighten someone’s day. She still sends my brother and I Easter packages and every birthday we still get a hand-written card. I believe so much in the power of mail and even as a digital person, hope to carry that throughout my life.