Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mom.


I was thinking about my Mom this morning, as I got ready. I thought about all the times I watched her get ready, my little girl hands reaching up to her rose pink jewelry box, tasseled drawers that held layers and layers of treasures inside. Turquoise and silver and gold. I can see my mother's makeup bag- the Avon eyeshadows with the tiny sponge applicators, the lipsticks in red and pink and purple, the chalky blushes and sharpened lip liners. I can see her Kiehl's Rosewater, the Elizabeth Taylor perfume bottles sitting on her dresser, and a magnifying mirror lit up.

It was never a thing though- appearance. My Mom was a hippie at heart, growing food in our backyard, washing clothes and hanging them on the line, and when I think of her back then I just remember her smile and her short hair and her laughing eyes. She was someone who always did her own thing, but did it in such a quiet way that I never realized she was doing so until much later, looking back.

Throughout my childhood my Mom had severe psoriasis that covered a lot of her arms and legs. Sometimes people would look. Sometimes people would say something, or ask questions. My Mom didn't make a big deal about it- she would wear shorts and tank tops and bathing suits without care. But I remember being fiercely protective of her, and it bothered me when people would look. Or say something, or ask those questions. She never seemed sad about it though, and would tell my sister and me, "This is not who I am, this is just my appearance. Let people think what they want."

Many years later my mother battled breast cancer. I can still remember her whispering to me- "I have something to tell you," the rest of the conversation echoey in my mind as she talked and talked, the words dropping one by one into some hollow place inside of my chest. She beat the cancer, but lost both of her breasts in the process. Instead of having reconstructive surgery my Mom elected to just remove them, and be done with it. She has two scars where her breasts once were.

I'm not sure, even seven years ago, that I recognized what a statement that was. I see it now though, and as I get older it's almost as if my Mom has become this living pool of inspiration for me. I can pull out more and more, and the closer I get to her, the more I see myself in the reflection.

I think about her asking me if I wanted any of her bras, because she wouldn't need them anymore. How she wouldn't want them anymore. Then she's laying in bed, post-op, bags attached to her chest, and I'm getting her water. I think about after, standing there in the bathroom with her as she asked if I wanted to see the scars, if it bothered me to see her this way. And I look at my Mom now, many years later, on the floor playing with her grandchildren.

Time moves quickly when you look at it backwards. Rewinding and fast-forwarding, the Avon and perfume bottles, little hands reaching up, watching her apply mascara that smelled like flowers, slipping on chunky bracelet after bracelet. And here we are.

I can see now how all of the choices in my mother's life- all of the ways she has led by very quiet example, molded me into who I am today. "This is not who I am, this is just my appearance. Let people think what they want," has become woven into the very fabric of who I am. My mother has taught me that, more than anything, I am enough. She told me this, but more so, has shown me.

When everything else is stripped away, when I'm left with just the very essence of who I am, I know that this person is beautiful and important and valuable. This is what my Mom has taught me, and what I hope to pass along to my boys as well.

I am forever grateful for the greatest example of self-love I've ever had.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you.

26 comments:

  1. I'm literally sobbing as I read this.. So beautiful, so honest... My mom is currently in chemotherapy for breast cancer--I have felt numb about it lately.. Your beautiful words are inspiring me to allow in the honesty, and depth, and sadness and beauty of this life of love that we as mamas, and daughters lead. Thank you...

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    1. Sweet Morgan. I'm so sorry your mama is going through this. I know how hard it can be...if you need to talk, please let me know. I'm here for you. <3

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  2. You made me cry! At work! This is so beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. I'm sorry I made you cry! ;)

      xo

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  3. Thank you. Thank you for posting this. My mom died from breast cancer in 1996. Having had a single mastectomy seven years prior and also a complete hysterectomy. It is so hard for me to have never gotten a chance to know my mom as an adult. To get to sift through all the crap the world throws at us with her eyes.

    I have a daughter now and the single most challenging thing I have ever done is raise her without having a mom. I hope this is the lens she sees herself in as she grows and that I exemplify that. Happy Mothers Day, thanks for posting.

    Bria

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    1. Hi Bria,

      Thank you for sharing your story with me. I wish it was in person, over a cup of tea, so I could give you a big hug.

      So much love to you.

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  4. love this so much, dani. so beautiful.

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    1. Thank you sweet friend. Love you.

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  5. This is absolutely beautiful Danielle. I lost my mum to breast cancer four years ago and this really touched me. It's so inspiring. Thank you.

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    1. Charlotte, thank you so much for taking a moment to leave this note. I'm so sorry that you lost your mama- I am sending you the biggest internet hug ever. Love.

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  7. This is so beautiful, you have me crying at my desk. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of the year and is in the midst of treatments, it's hard to see her struggling but I'm so proud of her. Thanks for sharing these sweet, uplifting words. She's lucky to have YOU.

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    1. Hi Liz,

      I'm so sorry that your mother is going through this. If you ever need to talk, please email me.

      Sending you lots of love and healing vibes to your strong mama.

      xoxo

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  8. This is beautiful. Your mother sounds like someone I'd really love to know. Happy Mother's Day to her!

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    1. Thank you Tina! I'm sure you would love her. Thank you for always taking the time to comment, I hope you know how much I appreciate it.

      Have a wonderful week. xoxo

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    1. Thank you so much, Lindsey! That means a lot. <3

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  10. beautiful, thanks for sharing.

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  11. I felt this in the very core of my being. Thank you.

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    1. Erin thank you for sharing that- it's amazing to know that someone is connecting to what I write. Love to you and yours. xoxo

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  12. Today has been a particularly rough day as a mother. Your words pierce my soul in the most admirable, beautiful way. My mom is my very best friend + this ode to motherhood is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. No doubt those boys will be saying the same thing about you looking back at your example! Thanks for sharing these thoughts + memories. Wonderful food for thought that I know I'll think about as I get ready each day. ❤️

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  13. As a mother with a young daughter this post resonated a lot with me. Thanks for sharing and glad to hear your mom is healthy today!

    (Also - can I just say it's so refreshing to see a non-sponsored Mother's Day post!)

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  14. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Enjoy this weekend with your mom!

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