Lessons From Mom

1963: That's me on the left, sister Shelley on the right.
1963: That’s me on the left, sister Shelley on the right.

Finding the perfect card for Mothers Day (or a birthday card for that matter) isn’t always easy – some are not sentimental enough, others are way too sappy, most are too generic….a funny card may work once, but most people appreciate a card that in some way expresses love and gratitude.
Many moons ago when my mother was still living, I gave her a card on Mothers Day that she liked so much that she had it framed and hung it on the wall of her family room…..the front of the card had a strong woman on a horse, in the days of the wild west….inside the card simply said, “Ya taught me good, Ma.”…..What I did to make it more personal was to write all over the inside of the card the lessons I learned from her, lessons I felt – for the most part were of value……some of these lessons I have shared on my blog:  Color Me Classic, Take Care of Your Teeth……here are some others you may find amusing…..

  •     Don’t be afraid of makeup.    Ginger was not a fan of ‘the natural look’, she liked bold lipstick and radiant foundation; I can remember her often telling my sister as she was preparing for a date, “you need more blush”…..as for me, I have always loved cosmetics, dramatic eye makeup, and a well defined lip.   Lesson learned. For the most part, Ginger favored Chanel products; I use a variety, Laura Mercier and MAC being two of my personal favorites.
  • Don’t get fat.   This was a lesson taught with great irony….while the message was that being thin was of utmost importance to being beautiful and attracting the opposite sex, high fat/carb foods were served at home on a regular basis and there was absolutely no ‘lesson’ about exercise and physical fitness!  Hilarious really when I look back….my parents never exercised…….OK, fast forward to present:  being in shape is very important to me.   As a middle aged woman I finally discovered that this is only accomplished through a combination of a healthy diet and exercise, both on a regular basis.
  • Put a hat on the baby’s head.   She did not mean a headband with a bow, which she disliked and commented on with distaste regularly…she meant a soft cap or bonnet to ensure the baby was warm and comfortable.  Agree! And my daughter seems to have embraced this lesson with my grandson as well…..
  • Marry a man with ambition.  Haha……this lesson often came when the lesson to ‘marry a doctor’ was unconvincing……I beg to differ, Mom…..I am an ambitious woman and have confidence in my ability to earn a decent income and be independent.  With that said, I cannot imagine being attracted to a man that is not ambitious, but I would not seek out someone with the sole purpose of what he could/would provide.
  • Buy quality, not quantity.   Hmmm, can’t I have both??  With this one, I will have to agree with mom….she believed that if you bought pricier clothing in classic styles you would always have the basics in your wardrobe to mix and match…..of course if you are on a very limited budget it may not be possible to buy even a small quantity of the ‘quality’ items – that’s where I learned a lesson of my own:  consignment shopping!  Here is where you can buy designer clothing (gorgeous fabrics, amazing tailoring) at a fraction of retail prices…..what I will get for $100 at Revolve is of much greater quality than if I spent that same amount at a regular boutique or department store…….Prada, Chanel, Theory, DVF, Free People – endless great finds!
  • Be careful of bunions.  My grandmother had them….my mother had them…and, yessiree, I do too.  Ginger would always advise against pointy toe shoes or wearing a shoe that was too small, saying that was what caused bunions – the truth is that they are completely hereditary (oh well) and even in countries where women go barefoot all the time, there is still a presence of bunions.  It is possible that certain shoe styles can exacerbate the condition and be quite painful, so what I pay attention to are shoes that have a wide enough ‘toe pocket’.  I still wear high heels and pointy toes but it takes time and effort to find the right fit.  No ‘earthy/crunchy’ shoes for this gal!

You know, I could go on forever recalling the lessons from Ginger – lessons related to cooking, sex (ohhh yeah), parenting, friendship, hair removal, decorating, entertaining, etc, etc….lessons were delivered with intensity, so as a grown woman it is interesting to remember them and determine which I agree with, which not so much……..How about your mother?  Were there many lessons that stayed with you or maybe one or two that highly influenced your life?

I would really love to hear.

The framed card, faded from the sun....
The framed card, faded from the sun….

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  • I couldn’t resist commenting on this one. One of my favorite memories of my Mom was how she looked forward to my father’s return from work every day. Dinner was served promptly at five o’clock. At four she would be prepping for Dad. Wash face, comb hair, apply fresh lipstick. When he walked through the door he was greeted with the biggest hug and multiple kisses all over his face. It always put a smile on my face to watch this.
    This was a lesson in loving. I have no problem initiating affection with my loved ones. To this day I credit my Mom for being such a great role model.
    Ps. Your Mom was absolutely fabulous!!!!

    • Wow, that is so sweet, it brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much for sharing Dee.

  • I also agree that you cannot teach your daughters to look for a man with ambition. My husband has mentioned he’d like our daughter to grow up and marry a rich man. Each time he has said that I cringe and tell him that I do not want to send her that message. My message to her would be to strive to be successful yourself so you can pursue love, not money in a relationship. If she is ambitious and successful chances are she’ll want a spouse with the same qualities.

    My mom died when I was young but one of the best pieces of advice I got from my grandmother was “Live with a man before you marry him”. It definitely saved me from marrying the wrong man.


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