For Mother’s Day, I called up my Mama to ask her a few questions about being a Mom and being a person before being a Mom. My mom and I have always compared our relationship to Rory and Lorelai on “Gilmore Girls,” and as I get older I see even more similarities between not only our relationships with them but just each of us individually and each of them individually. Point being, we’ve always been SUPER close and open with each other, even about stuff that is hard to be honest about. I knew this was going to be fun, because while we talk a lot about what’s going on in our lives, I’ve never asked her so many questions about her life before I was in it.
Who was your role model as a kid? Who is it today?
I’d say Auntie Nancy and Mr. J [her band director] as a kid. Auntie Nancy because you know, you idolize your older sister, everything they do is right. She was my #1 go-to. Mr. J was just the person who gave me every ounce of confidence I ever had. He taught me work ethic, taught me about the reward benefit from hard work, taught me…really he just taught me about life.
I mean, today, I’m fortunate enough in the last 10 years that it’s largely been my management structure at work. They’re good leaders and they have qualities that are important to have in life either at work or at home. I don’t know truthfully if I even have one. I don’t super-duper have one. I feel like at this age your circle gets really small and tight. And those who are in it are the people who are directly providing you something, like happiness and guidance. It’s not one particular person, like Aunt Nancy comes to mind, Ms. Booboo comes to mind, my manager comes to mind. Like, they show me how to be a better person, better mom, better employee and they help me be a better person and that’s all you can really ask for.
My mom texted me later in the day with an update to this question after talking to her mentor. She said: It’s funny, I have been texting with MMB [her mentor] about some work things I need guidance on and was thinking about your role model question. I think “role model” has morphed into “mentor” or “guidance”. Whether it be active (MMB) or passive (like watching Miss Booboo live life and be a mom).
[Note: If you can’t tell, my family is big with nicknames]
Who was your favorite person to spend time with when you were a teenager? Why?
My favorite person to spend time with when I was a teenager was all the 85ers. [laughs] We were ridiculous. We were everything teenagers were supposed to be. We were obnoxious, we were loud, we were all open with each other about our little antics because we were all “the nerds” or “the smart kids”. Other people had no idea what we did. We’re the 85ers and we’re awesome.
How would your friends describe who you were?
Sarcastic and always with a one-liner.
What was the most popular song when you were in high school? What kind of music did you like to listen to?
Prince and Purple Rain! That’s why the past two weeks were such a big deal to me, like that was the soundtrack to my senior year in high school. Then you move on to New Order, and any John Hughes film soundtrack. The soundtrack to Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, they were so accurate to what we were going through at that time.
What were your defining characteristics as a young adult before you were a mom or wife?
I’m a people pleaser or a helper. I think that’s why I chose nursing as a profession. It’s the perfect job for my combination of being an adrenaline junkie and being a people person. So, being a nurse and what it brought for me personally.
What is your first memory of Dad? What kind of a person was he when trying to date you?
Your dad is a man who will always, and always has, marched to the beat of his own drummer. He gave zero ef’s about what anyone else thought and he did his own thing. “Be your own person” was his motto. [Then I inquired about my dad’s infamous college car, she laughed a lot] The handle of the car didn’t work, and he had to scrape corrosion off the battery to make it start and he had to lean across to the back seat to open my door. But he took me to a reggae bar for our first date and it was something I never had done or thought I would ever do in my entire life, totally off the beaten path.
What was it like being pregnant with me?
You know what? For the first half it was terrifying because I had bleeding every week, and there was this fear that I would actually lose you, and that happened for the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy. So the first 20 weeks were emergency trips to the doctor for ultrasounds. I didn’t have a lot of morning sickness, it was more about the size and being gigantic, I was as big as a house. But being young and pregnant, [she had me when she was 25] you don’t really know what is going to happen and you just go with the punches. And I remember being at my friend’s house and it was the first time I saw the outside of my belly move, I saw your leg and could follow it across my belly. I loved it, but it was crazy town.
What was it like taking me home?
Like right before you were born, like 2 weeks away from your due date, I looked at your dad at 9pm at night and I was like “we’re going to dinner,” he was so confused but I just thought “we’re never going to be able to do this again.” We went to dinner, and he thought I was crazy.
I loved babies and loved having them around, but there was a moment I remember where I put you in your car seat and I was like “woah, this is mine!” and when I look back now and say “I don’t know how I fed you” it’s because I can look back at it now and can say “I don’t know how I fed you” but I didn’t think about it like that then. I loved every minute of it. I’ve never not loved being a mom.
I’ve always said that being a mom is my real job and everything else just allows me to make that happen.
Was anything different for you between raising the boys and raising me? Like, because I’m a girl?
I don’t think it’s so much “girl versus boy” as much as it’s just the difference between the individuals. I’ve always said the core part of your personalities was clear even when you were born. As soon as you found your voice you never stopped talking, Sam was always kind of a grouch, Eric was always just going with the flow, more laid back. I learned so much about you and from you from whatever you were doing throughout the years.
What is one thing you wish you could have done but haven’t done yet?
I can’t really think of something on the top of my head. Is that bad? Travel always comes to mind, like to have traveled more. There’s really not a regret lingering out there.
In what ways do you think I’m like you? And not like you?
Glitter, sparkle, girly, skirts, cheerleading, creative – not like me. You’re so polar-opposite of me in many ways. But I think we’re both pretty compassionate, we cheer for the underdogs (sometimes more than we should), we don’t have any tolerance for stupid. Directed- we both have a very clear direction of where we want to go. We’re goal oriented, task oriented.
Is there anything you have always wanted to tell me but never have?
You’re adopted. Just kidding. No! I think that’s one of the best parts about us, it’s pretty open back and forth. I don’t think we ever had this big bold parental wall, something we knock down because you’re a certain age. It’s always been pretty open
What was the best advice you’ve ever been given?
For me, it was your Grandpa talking about credit cards. It’s crazy, but it stands out in my mind. He said, “if you don’t have the money, you don’t buy it. You don’t buy things you don’t have money for.” It has kept me out of so much trouble financially over the years. As far as applied life lessons, that’s the best I got.
And probably anything I learned from my manager when I switched from my nursing career to my sales career. I didn’t have that kind of life mentoring growing up. You watch other people around you and you learn from other people around you and you work hard to make things different.
Do you have any advice you would give to your 25-year-old self? Like when you were pregnant with me?
Life in general, every special point in time, always works out the way it’s supposed to. It might not always be the solution you want, but it’s the solution it’s supposed to be. Fasten your seatbelt, keep your hands on the wheel, it might get bumpy but you’ll get where you’re supposed to go. I think age and the wisdom that comes with that over the years is something I could have used more of.
And ENJOY IT. Enjoy it. The beauty of having a baby when you’re 25 is that you’re fun, you’re not wrapped up in 85 places and all the crazy shit that happens now when you’re older. They’ll turn out ok! You turned out fine. You’ll be ok.
What is your proudest moment as a mother?
There are too many to list. So far to have 2/3 kids out in the world, successful and happy, that’s all you can ask for. I couldn’t…I truly couldn’t begin to list. I would have to have an outline with subheadings for each kid. It would be impossible. Everyone does something amazing for whatever age and stage that they’re in. It all kind of grows and culminates. The fact that I didn’t kill any of you as newborns and I didn’t ruin you yet is pretty good.
My mom has always taught me the importance of independence and self-sufficiency and self-care. She’s taught me these lessons directly and indirectly. I have seen my mom go through some really hard times, and some of those hard times lasted a really long time. No matter what it was she pulled through. I think the biggest lesson I learned from her in this short interview is that my mom is really happy with her life. She’s happy with her family, her friends, what she’s accomplished, what she’s done. No matter what life throws at me, whatever hard times are in my past, whatever adventures I’m longing to take, at any point in time throughout the rest of my life I just want to be able to say, “There’s really not a regret lingering out there.” It’s simple, but it’s honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard.
Love you, Mama.