Kindergarten Teacher. French Horn Player. Pianist. Cartoonist. Crafter. Seamstress. Gardener. Lifeguard. Award-Winning Cook. Philanthropist. Mother. Sounds like a blogger, huh?
P&G asked me to write a tribute post to my mother. And to write about how she taught me beauty by example. I am so glad that they did not literally define the word "beauty", because I'm going to liberally and laterally define it for you.
Beauty is being a shining example of a Working Mom.
When it was not fashionable or trendy to do so, my mother worked. I don't ever remember her NOT working. Not only did my beautiful mother have the job of Kindergarten Teacher for over 30 years, she also had the job of Organist at three different churches. She was the pianist for the drama troupe at our neighborhood high school. She never once led me to believe that women are not able or are not allowed to do anything they set their mind to doing.
She was Hustle and Sparkle before the Millennials made it their modus operandi.
Beauty is showing everyone around you that you really don't give a flip about what they think of you.
How empowering is that! My mother dressed up in costume for her kindergartners at every major AND minor holiday, teaching them to celebrate life and have fun. My brother, I'm sure, will never forget my mother coming up to his high school, walking the halls calling out his name in costume. Many times.
When I was Goth, she would go thrifting with me. When I was all-Metal-all-the-time she banged her head right along with me to Iron Maiden. She is responsible for my laissez-faire attitude toward trends, and my ability to look past differences and see what I have in common with anybody. I learned from her not to follow anybody's lead. To decide what I wanted to do, and then just go ahead and do it.
My mother played reveille on a trumpet at 6:00 in the morning on our front porch every July 4th. As if that was the totally logical thing to do.
And so, I have never fit in. And that's beautiful.
Beauty is knowing that you can do anything.
And then just figuring out how to do it. Like cook Indian Food. In Kansas. In the 70s.
Or go all Etsy and carve Apple Head Dolls and make Wheat Weavings. Or grow corn in your backyard. Or install a swimming pool without professional help. Or enter and win Chili Cook-offs over and over again.
Or how to stalk local celebrities and end up being their friends.
Because of this beautiful example, I do not feel the slightest hesitation when I decide I want to learn something new. I always feel like I am allowed to try anything, and that I'll probably succeed if I keep at it. And, if I don't want to do something, that's ok. And if it comes out crappy, that's also ok...or "Close enough for government work!" as my mother would grandly say after something flopped.
Beauty is unique.
My mother gave me the ability to problem-solve any situation. There were a lot of practical hands-on things I learned from her. She gave me the support and encouragement to be an artist for a living. She gave me my unique fashion sense, or lack thereof. She gave me working knowledge and appreciation of sewing, cooking, literature, art, music, history, and hilarity. How can you not turn out funny when your mother makes little people out of food and delivers them to you on a silver platter at the library where you work?
My mother cracked us up day after day. She burnt the rolls. Bounced the checks. Dressed up like the Tooth Fairy and prowled the halls of my brother's high school. But she also spent every cent she had buying shoes and coats for her kindergartners. And squirreled away money for my art supplies. And if she were alive today, I have no doubt she'd be an inspirational blogger.
Mommy's Wish List Disclosure: I was selected by P&G to participate in this program thru The Motherhood. While I have been compensated for my participation in The Beauty by Example Program, my opinions are my own.