Publisher - May 2023

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.”
—Robert Browning—

I believe the majority of the greatest lessons we learn in life come from our mothers. Not all of us have the fortune of a good mother’s wisdom, but most of us have experienced wonderful lessons from strong motherly figures somewhere along the way.

For years, I have written about how our parents teach us how we want to be and how we don’t want to be. I stand by this and firmly believe both are equally important lessons. Of course my mother had some ways and traits that taught me how I did not want to be, but her positive lessons far outweigh those.

Our inspirational quote this month (page 40) states: There is no one way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a great one.” There are no truer words spoken. When you think of motherhood and all the magical, loving, lifelong emotions, feelings and moments that come with it, it truly is a miracle. Mothers don’t get manual, or a class on how to be a good mom, yet somehow mothers are the most loved species on the planet. Did you know Mother’s Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries around the world and 84 percent of U.S. adults will celebrate this holiday in someway? That’s a very strong approval rating for moms!

In thinking of the celebration ahead, and having just gotten off the telephone with my mother for the second time today, I would like to share some of the best lessons, though the list is endless, my mother has taught me:

To Be Gracious: First and foremost my mother taught me manners. Many women my age are now disgruntled because our mothers taught us to “be nice.” Well, I’m here to say being nice is a good thing. Considering others’ feelings is a good thing. Knowing what to say, and more importantly, what not to say, and when, is a good thing. My parents were very social, and we had people over to our house for dinner, or up to the lake house for a day on the lake, almost every weekend, especially in the summertime. My mother taught me how to be generous, not to begrudge doing for others, and to be cognizant of our guests. Granted, she was having fun along with everyone else, but she had a way of making everyone feel welcome (even the friends that friends brought), and that is a gift.

To Finish: My mom wasn’t afraid of a project. She would take on making my baton competition costumes from scratch (sequins and fringe included), as well as dresses, halloween costumes, doll clothes, whatever we needed. She was an excellent seamstress and when she sat down to sew, she finished usually in one sitting. She was a perfectionist so you would think she would get bogged down along the home stretch, but no. She persevered until it was done. If it was a weekend night, she may stay up until one or two in the morning. That’s how she was—things were done and done well. I am so thankful for this lesson. I could have never lasted in the publishing business without this trait. I can’t tell you how many times I have stayed up all night finishing the magazines over the last 19 years, but I never found it to be a big deal because Mom taught me “a girl’s got to do, what a girl’s got to do.” Do you know how this attitude diminishes the drama? Just an added bonus!

To Be All In: I was involved in clubs and extra-curricular activities both in school and in the community. Sometimes, I would want to skip a meeting or not do what was required of me. My mother never allowed me to cop out or quit. She would say, “You decided to be a part of it, so you need to be a part of it. They are counting on you.” This is probably why
I won most dependable year after year in school. My mother taught me to do what I
said I would do. This is a characteristic that has really gone down hill this century. People cop out all the time, but again, I would have failed at Pink long ago if I would have copped out when things got hard. It’s all been hard, but Mom taught me to persevere and never give up. I can hear her now, “Just put your mind to it.” Great advice!

I could go on and on about the lessons Mom taught me. She still teaches me lessons almost daily, and the really cool thing is, I now teach her lessons, too. (I think I have all along) She is in an assisted living, and it’s almost like being back in high school having to deal with and get along with all the various personalities. Mom was born in 1931 so she never was of the generation that “processes” feelings, meditates for clarity, or “talks” out solutions. So I help her get through her “mean girl” and “know-it-all men” issues she encounters at her new home.

She is doing great, and I feel more lucky to have her now than ever. I don’t think you ever get to an age when you no longer need your mother, but the life cycle eventually parts us. That’s why a mother’s bond is so strong, so it stays within us forever. We carry in us everything she carried in her. Our soul is the sum of all those women who came before us. If you think you never met your great-grandmother, just look in the mirror. A part of her is a part of you. How special is that? Happy Mother’s Day!

Think Pink,
Elizabeth Millen