I wanted to take some time to wish all of the mothers a Very Happy Mother’s Day!  I would not be where I am today without my mother and grandmothers.  Both of my grandmothers have passed on, but they instilled in me and my mother a strong work ethic, a sense of diligence, and the importance of taking time to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others (as they say on the airlines, put your own mask on first before…).

It was through my mother that I first got into bath and beauty products.  Although my mother did not know a lot about all-natural products, we’d get excited together about new shampoos and lotions, and soaps that cleaned better than your average bar.  We’d “make” lotion together, which was really mixing olive oil or after-bath oil into a favorite lotion of ours and adding a little of our favorite perfume.

I got my love of baking soda from my grandmother, who bathed in it, brushed her teeth with it, and cleaned with it.  I remember that on Sundays, a special day, she’d let me and my cousin use her cherished Avon perfumed creme.  She had so many jars in so many scents.  I’d feel grown up and special when I used it.

Looking back, it is the little things, the small lessons, the moments of sharing and discovery, that make our relationships with our mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers so special.  Just think about how many small things you have learned over the years that have made you a better person — either more effective, more persistent, or someone who gets more out of life because of these little secrets they’ve shared with you.

These women, they teach us big lessons too, like what it takes to be independent, the importance of being your own person, and loving ourselves for who we are.

When I was at a friend’s wedding last fall, she said that if it weren’t for our grandmothers, none of us would be where we are today.  I think that is so true because it is those silent prayers, the small lessons, the gentle (and sometimes tough) correcting hands that have groomed and shaped us into who we are today.

Last Saturday I graduated with my husband.  We both received our Ph.D.’s, and President Obama was our commencement speaker.  I know that it is in part my grandmother’s love and persistence that gave me the courage to keep going when I wanted to quit, to listen to my ancestors in moments of defeat, and to muster up all of the strength I had to pull through.

Mother’s Day really isn’t about the gifts, although they are nice and appreciated.   It’s about reflecting on how much love and joy and pure and utter sacrifice our mothers and mother figures have given selflessly over the years.  Now, they aren’t perfect people, and no one is.  But they are to be applauded and simply thanked for the beautiful outcomes of their kind and generous investments.

I thank you and I bow to you, dear mothers.