With Mother’s Day rapidly approaching, I thought today could be a good time to honor my mom here on Natty Gal and thank her for the many years of love and kindnesses that she’s shown me as well as tell a little bit about what makes my mom unique.
Like many mother-daughter relationships, ours has been complex and not always easy. We are so different and yet, I also see a lot of her characteristics in me. Despite being perhaps the most awful teenager in the world (my apologies for that, mom), we muddled through. And I’m so grateful to still have her in my life, and living nearby, today.
What Makes My Mom Unique
A few interesting facts about my mom. She:
- Spent her career at Kent State University, first as a math professor and then working her way into administration ultimately retiring as the university’s Deputy Director of Computer Services. She was working on campus the day of the infamous May 4th shootings.
- Published several mathematics texts for Holden-Day and McGraw Hill, one that was also translated to Spanish!
- As a student, worked on a government contract for Goodyear where she was asked to draw what “radar bounce” would look like for large sections of topographical data. This data contributed to the development/advancement of the US’s guided missile system.
- At one point in her career, was ranked as high as number three on a government list of mathematical code-breakers to be called upon to work in the Pentagon if ever needed in a National Emergency.
- In her late 70’s, took up watercolor painting. It’s a hobby she enjoys to this day and she’s really pretty good at it!
While I certainly haven’t followed in her footsteps from a career perspective, I’m incredibly proud of her trailblazing efforts as one of the earlier generations of women to work in the STEM fields. It’s a real testament to her that so many of her former students still reach out to her (usually at the holidays) after so many years.
Lessons Learned from Mom
Below are just a few things that I’ve learned from my mom, that have come to make some sort of difference or impact on my life.
- To enjoy reading.
- Have a sense of adventure and curiosity.
- How to make homemade bread because if you’re going to indulge in carbs, it might as well be fabulous! Her famous herb bread is in this post.
- That joy can come from giving to or doing for others.
- It’s never too late to try something new or to reinvent yourself.
- Don’t wait around for a guy to do stuff for you – figure it out yourself!
- No matter how much you make, if you spend more than that, you’ll never acquire wealth.
Memories with my Mom
And again, just a small handful of some of the great memories I have:
- Leaving a tiny package (crayons, new barrettes) for me to open with my grandmother/babysitter each day she was on vacation so I could easily count the days until their return as well as have a little reminder that she was thinking of me.
- Driving with her to the Kent for Kids summer camp when I was a child and having exposure to such a diverse range of activities – gymnastics, water ballet, cooking, photography, silk-screening and more. And for taking me to all kinds of shows, concerts and events. She gave me the chance to experience so many different types of things as a child.
- Asking her secretary to type my term papers when I’d get into a time crunch. #spoiled
- Celebrating when we bought a house by taking me to SAM’s Club on an epic shopping spree to stock up on all the things we were going to need (cleaning supplies, toiletries, basic groceries). #spoiledagain
My hope for Mother’s Day is that if you still have your mom around, you’ll find something to thank her for or tell her you love her. If she’s not around, same, just do it in your mind. And, as not all of us have great moms, if she wasn’t what you needed, that you can somehow find a way to release any anger and accept that we ALL just try the best with what skills we have at any point in time.
See you Sunday, Mom. I love you!