Originally appeared on HoneyGood.com.
I draw my Good Morning Stories from my past experiences. I begin searching my mind days before I put my fingers on the keyboard, for an eventful experience that has had a profound, loving or funny impact on my life. I was planning on writing a delightful mother-daughter story about my daughter and myself, but after spending the past week with my mother, I decided I would backtrack. Instead, I'm going to tell a story that took place a few years ago which also relates to a recent conversation with my mother regarding her insights and wisdom.
The mother-daughter relationship is complicated. Most have hills and valleys. My relationship with my mother was no different. My mother was very strong and controlling and I was not a meek, shrinking violet by any stretch of the imagination. That is not to say I was disrespectful. I honored my parents. I just had my vision of who I was. My mother, on the other hand, had her vision of who I should be.
As I matured into adulthood, I was sure I was not a clone of my mother. I was my own woman. As it turns out, at my mother's 90th birthday party luncheon, with 50 women in attendance to include friends, granddaughters, nieces and a daughters-in law, I came to realize that "I was my mother's daughter!"
We sat at one long table upstairs in a private dining room at Gibson's Restaurant -- my mother and brother at one end and my husband, Shelly, and I at the other. I glanced at the setting and I could not make up my mind what was more beautiful: the gorgeous flowers down the length of the entire table or my mother's friends from ages 88 to 96! As lunch progressed with an abundance of laughter and chatter permeating the room, I decided to stand up and ask each of the women and, of course her devoted son-in law and son, to tell a story -- a memory about my mother.
I sat listening intensely as her girlfriends and family told stories about my mother and her life. Her capabilities, ambitions, love of family and joy of life unfolded before my eyes and then it was my turn. I was the last to speak. I stood up and said, as I toasted my mother with a glass of champagne in hand poised directly at her, "I am my mother's daughter." My mother stood up and said, as she toasted me back, "That is the nicest compliment I have ever received!" My eyes flooded with tears of joy and I felt such deep love and respect for "this mother of mine." I remember saying a little prayer to myself, "God, bless my darling mother and keep her safe and in good health."
My mom is now 93 and has weathered a lot in the past year. She has suffered a broken hip and wrist, pneumonia, two severe bladder infections (one requiring hospitalization) and almost choked to death! It's a miracle she is alive! But alive she is and God is granting my prayer.
Yesterday we sat chatting together in her apartment and I asked her if she would mind sharing her thoughts with me on womanly topics.
I said to her, "Mom, you are a sage, dripping with advice. Would you share you wisdom with the women reading Good Morning Story?"
"This will be fun. I would love to," said my mom.
I asked her questions on several topics and jotted notes as she spoke. Here are my mother's replies to my questions:
"Mom, give me your advice on what gives a woman her style."
The basis of style is the understanding of not only who you are but the kind of woman you want to represent. It is a combination of many things. It is "your look" that sets you apart from everyone else. It is your taste in books, in women friends, in your home and your vivre de life. As you get older, dear daughter of mine, don't be afraid; move with grace and expose your wisdom. After all think of the alternative!
"What about gossip among women, mom?"
If you tell one woman, it is no longer a secret! (She said that with a twinkle in her beautiful blue eyes.)
"Mom, what if you know people are talking about you."
That's an easy one. If people are talking about you, you know you are not boring!
"Mom, sometimes our children disappoint us. How do we deal?"
This is an old saying, but a true saying: One mother can take care of ten children. Ten children cannot take care of one mother. You give your children their roots and then their wings. It is the progression of life.
"Mom, what is your philosophy on friendship?"
Have women friends from all walks of life. A clique becomes a bore. Don't expect from most and you will not be disappointed.
"Mom tell me your secret on aging beautifully."
I exercise my mind, not my body!
"You and dad had a wonderful marriage. What do you attribute this to?"
You know what I told you when you were to become a bride -- a woman makes a marriage. Those five words are worth their weight in gold, in more ways than one!
"Mom what do you attribute to your longevity?"
Sometimes I wish it was not so long! I suppose it may be my lack of fear and my love of laughter -- and you! You keep telling me, "Mom, I need you!"
I did not answer. I just smiled. I got out of my chair, wrapped my arms around "this mother of mine" and whispered in her ear, "I do need you." She looked at me with her twinkling blue eyes, gave me a kiss and said, "I need you more."
We shared a smile.
I wanted to end the conversation on an upbeat note, so I said,
"Mom, in another year you will be 95! I am going to give you another beautiful luncheon. This time I am going to add to the list all of my girlfriends who know and truly revere you! It will be a great day. You will be the Queen Bee! Together we will write your life message you can share with all at your table. You will speak your thoughts and everyone will leave your 95th birthday party feeling marvelous and the buzz will be out in the city that you are one grande dame!"
I could tell she was excited and looking forward. Next year, on Good Morning Story, I am hopeful that I will be able to share pictures with you and "her story" told in her words.
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