Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there and to the mother’s daughters. If you are blessed to still have your mother in your life, hold her close and show her what she means to you.
It just never dawned on me that I would lose my mother. That I would come to face a Mother’s Day without her. For 32 years, she was an elevator ride away until she left me on the first day of Rosh Hashana, 2022. For Mother’s Day, after having some time to collect my thoughts, I celebrate my mother’s legacy.
I recall walking down Pearson Street a week ago with my pooch, America. It was early morning; the city was still fast asleep. Over the past week, I knew my mom was failing, it never dawned on me until that morning walk that I was going to lose her. The realization was overwhelming; tears rolled down my cheeks. My thoughts turned to my mom’s legacy, the gifts she left me in my head.
Unquestionably, whirling thoughts reminded me of my old Rolodex as I searched for stories laced with her wisdom. In my eyes, my mother was a woman of valor, her moral compass was pristine.
Celebrating My Mother’s Legacy
First and foremost, my mother will always be the most important woman in my life. She was my first teacher; her wise lessons have boded me well and will remain with me for eternity. Like every mother and daughter relationship, the bonds of steel can never be severed. The high hills of laughter and exciting times are mixed with an unchartered voyage of discovery along a snaking road often marred by potholes. And yet, the shared chemistry between every mother and daughter is fierce and can never be broken.
My mother gave me my roots and my wings. She gave me the fire in my sails. She showered me with wisdom, the ability to know right from wrong, and the moral compass to strive for what I believe in at all costs. I am privileged to carry her lessons with me all the days of my life.
One of the most valuable gifts my mother bestowed upon me is to understand and practice gratitude, which is the quality of being thankful, showing appreciation for, and returning kindness. A grateful person is a happier person. Thank you, mom.
As I stand here today, I know my mom would want me to celebrate her life. She learned much over her 100 years and would be pleased if I left you with some of her wisdom.
A few years ago, I asked her if I could interview her. She was startled but agreed. Here were her answers.
Mom: give me your advice on style.
Your style comes from within and radiates out. It is not the dress you wear, it is the smile you wear. It is twinkling eyes, great posture, a curious mind, and a great personality that will set you apart from other women.
What about gossiping among women?
Remember, dear daughter of mine, if you tell one woman a secret, it is no longer a secret.
What if you know people are talking about you?
That is an easy answer. If people are talking about you, you know you are interesting!
When our children disappoint us, what can we do?
An old and true saying is that one mother can take care of ten children. Ten children have a hard time taking care of one mother. Remember: You give your children their roots and then their wings. It is the progression of life.
You had so many friends. What is your philosophy on friendship?
Have women friends of all ages and walks of life. A clique becomes a bore.
Please share your secret about aging gracefully.
I exercise my mind.
What about skincare?
Use olive oil on your skin — never soap! I don’t believe in facelifts. Your lines show your life, your persona. The real you.
What makes a happy marriage?
I think you know the answer because you chose wisely. I love your ultimate concierge, and he is not my son-in-law. He is my second son.
Thank you, Mom! Shelly loved you too. But, tell me anyway.
Choosing a spouse is the most important decision you will make in your life. Make a list of what you need and stick to it. Once you got him, don’t lose him. Buy beautiful negligees and never say no in the bedroom!
My mother on loyalty:
Stand by your family and friends. Always take their side unless they disappoint you and prove you wrong.
Her thoughts on personal happiness:
Own your power. Be grateful and give back. Have a purpose. Be curious. Love deeply and laugh often.
What do you attribute your longevity to?
Sometimes I wish it was not so long! I suppose it is my love of laughter. And you! You keep telling me, “ Mom, I need you!”
I did not answer, and instead, I smiled, got up from my chair, wrapped my arms around this mother of mine, and whispered in her ear, “I do need you!” She looked up at me with her twinkling blue eyes, kissed me, and said, “ I need you more.” And she did. And I tried my best to be there for her.
The evening before she passed away, I was with her, and I knew she was struggling to stay with me. I leaned over her, kissed her lips gently, and with tears running down my cheeks, gave her permission to pass away peacefully.
The next evening at the same time, my mother closed her eyes for the last time.
She was and will always be my heart. I am my mother’s daughter.
A mother of substance
My mother was a woman of substance. She had the highest principles and standards. She led a fabulous life. Her only real disappointment was that she was born at the wrong time. If she were a young woman today, I have no doubt she would be the CEO of a company.
I can see her right now doing the daily newspaper’s crossword puzzle with her morning cup of coffee and croissant. I recall my mom and dad driving from Kankakee by the Sea to Evanston to take courses at Northwestern University.
My mom was a fine golfer and a skier. When she broke her leg in a skiing accident, she hustled to learn how to knit gorgeous socks with sequins to cover her toes so she could continue dancing with my dad. She learned to needlepoint during her 6 months in a cast. Nothing stopped my mom from living and learning.
My mom had style. She understood that a woman’s beauty came from inner beauty.
Her outer style was simple elegance. Her inner style was captivating. Her blue eyes twinkled, her smile and laugh were captivating, her smell was always divine, her persona was powerful, and her intellect substantial.
My mom had the highest principles and standards. Her values were pristine. She taught me by her example. I could not have had a better teacher. I am grateful.
My mother, my friend, my teacher. I will miss you to my core. I will cherish your teachings and give you my word that I will continue to make you proud of me each and every day for the rest of my life. You have left me a legacy to celebrate, uphold and be proud of.
You are where you belong. You are surrounded by dad and our close family. Now you can rest in peace. God Bless you.