Happy Mother's Day!

My Mom is amazing.  On top of that, my Mom-Mom (my maternal grandmother) is quite incredible as well.  I am beyond lucky to have these women by my side to love, advise, teach, discipline,  and other wise mold and shape me into the woman I am.  Of course, other people (my dad, my friends, my husband) have contributed to the person I am today, but today is about the awesomeness of Mom and I have a lot of awesome to celebrate. 

Although they are very different in many ways, my Mom and Mom-Mom are similar in that they are strong, independent women who have forged success from less than ideal circumstances. 

My Mom-Mom, raised on a farm with three brothers became a teenage mother and bride in 1958 (before it made you an MTV celebrity)and eventually left her home and husband with a my very young mother in hopes of making a life that was better for the both of them.  She had gone to beauty school and worked as a hair dresser (she still does at 71, by the way) for many years before starting her own business, Sue's Beauty Shop. It certainly would have been easier for her to stay married to a man she didn't really love, stay in a town where her entire family lived - but she didn't.  I've never gotten into the nitty gritty details as to why this was her chosen course, but from the information I do have, I'd imagine staying was simply not an option.  

Mom -Mom at a Christmas dinner
Anyone that interacts with Mom -Mom (that's basically her first name) knows she is a no nonsense kind of lady.  She can come across a little harsh a hasty at times and I'm entirely sure she is unfamiliar with the phrase "hold your tongue".  Although subtlety and tact, aren't necessarily her strong suits, she loves her family with a strength that I admire immensely.  She is also wildly talented.  Growing up on a farm as the only girl in a family with 4 children, she spent much of her time in the kitchen or on a sewing machine - and it shows.  She whips up holiday dinners with her eyes closed, and makes prom dresses for her picky granddaughter with a smile.  Having three brothers also made sure she knew her way around the tool shed.  She's always been a Ms. Fix-It (installing counter tops and flooring - no biggie) while maintaining the largest lipstick and nail polish collection 10 year old me had ever seen.  She is a quick decision maker, laughs hardest at physical humor (don't trip and expect help) likes to dance, loves lounging in the water on the hottest summer days, and would likely choose the company of dogs over most people. 

My Mom, raised mostly by a single mother, became one herself in her early 20's.  She struggled with money and raising a son after her husband left.  She eventually met my father and attended nursing school while pregnant with me.  Although their romantic relationship ended, my parents remained as friendly as possible and did an excellent job making parenting decisions that were best for my brother and I.  My mom purchased her first home in 1995 (when I was entering 4th grade) after a lifetime of renting.  An accomplishment I am still in awe of. 

My beautiful Mother

My mother's house - a few years after purchase
 My mom has a quiet peace and calmness that can instantly put people at ease.  Although she is a worrier (mostly about her kids), she literally has a blood pressure that is so low, most pharmacy/ grocery store cuffs don't produce a reading.  She is the most empathetic person I know and possesses a level of open mindedness that I envy.  She introduced me to pedicures and yoga (things I can't imagine living without) and the value of a makeup -less face.  Whenever I am critical of myself, she chastises me and explains why that negative, is indeed a positive.  Second only to spending time with her family, is spending time in the garden or otherwise in nature.  Her appreciation of the beauty surrounding us in nature is the epitome of genuine.  She loves naps and being silly in public.  I have never, ever, not even for a millisecond, been unsure of the vast, unconditional and all encompassing love that my mother has for her children. She doesn't nag, or impose her will or make me feel guilty about anything. Ever.  She is one of the best people I know, and despite my downright bitchy horribleness between the ages of 13-18, she is one of my best friends. 

Mama and me.
I carry so many of the diverse traits that both my Mom and Mom-Mom possess and I couldn't be happier about that fact.  I love spending 2 hours getting ready for a night out just as much as I love spending an evening around a campfire and sleeping in a tent.  I am sometimes hasty, sometimes indecisive, and on occasion, can strike the perfect balance between the two.  I love the quiet I achieve while practicing yoga and the rowdiness of a country music concert on the lawn in Camden, NJ.  I love spending time in my garden and doing DIY projects around the house without the help of the awesome men in my life. 

The best women I know.  Laughing at my mom's struggle to put on a glove at my wedding.
One of the best things about these women; you'd never know about the challenges they have overcome because they don't dwell on them.  They are happy for the lives they have now, regardless of, or perhaps because, of what paths they've ventured down to get here.  In a nutshell, they aren't bitter.  And by living their lives without bitterness in their hearts, they have given me the best gift of all. 

Thank the awesome women in your life today and everyday!