Last week, I read Caitlin's Food Lush post about the food memories she associates with her mom. It got me thinking about my mom and how I can trace a lot of my personal style back to her. We all eventually turn into our mothers, right?
When I was a kid, clutter followed me and I'd leave a trail everywhere I went: shoes, homework, books, you name it. She was always nagging me to pick up my shoes and put things away. I can hear her voice now: "A place for everything and everything in its place!" She'd vacuum the living room and say "No one is allowed to walk on that carpet for ten whole minutes!" These days, I also hate clutter, order my kids out of clean rooms, and I'd be Bill Gates if I had a nickel for each time I've asked my kids to pick up their shoes.
My mom always wears makeup and perfume. She isn't vain, at all, but she makes an effort to look nice no matter what she's doing. I still remember going with her to pick out the first lipstick I ever owned. (It was Cover Girl Almost Nude, which I was shocked to discover still exists). When I was old enough to wear makeup, she would always say as I ran out the door, "You know, you really should put on some lipstick. You look a little pale!" Today, you'll never find me without lip gloss. Although I suspect she might not approve of what some of them cost. Shhh.
My mom is a very simple and sensible dresser. She wears jeans and khaki pants and is rarely found in a dress or skirt. Her closet is full of cardigans and solid-color knits. The apple didn't fall far here, folks. I, too, wear jeans near-constantly and own (at least) a cardigan for every day of the week.
I am a huge reader and attribute my love of books to our weekly trips to the library as a child. She would let me wander the shelves, browse freely and choose as many books as I wanted. To this day, one of the things that makes me happiest is having an unread stack of books waiting on my nightstand.
My mother also has an inner beauty that has nothing to do with makeup or clothing. Since I was a small child, she has had these four words cross-stitched and hanging on the kitchen wall: Listen, Accept, Encourage, Invite. She lives by those words. Her friends are like family to her, and other people's good news is as joyful to her as her own. She is an extremely grateful person, and I think she believes the sun might go dark if you don't write a thank-you note for every single gift you receive.
When I think about the big picture, one thing I hope to emulate is how my mom is the same on the outside that she is on the outside: beautiful, practical and focused on others. She is someone who takes joy out of simple things and reflects it on her face. Her smiling, perfectly made-up face.
Happy almost-Mother's Day to my mom, and all you other moms out there.
My mom, my sister and me at my sister's baby shower. (Look! A cardigan and solid color knits! I told you!)