Whether it was your mother, your grandmother, a teacher, or a trusted mother figure, this time of year makes us reflect on the women who raised us to bee the Bees we are today. We say it all the time but it bears repeating: #ItTakesAHive. That’s why we’re thankful to the moms out there who gave us wings (…and why some of us can’t wait to onpass them to our litteltons, when it’s time for them to flee the hive).
Below, TJS’s Co-Founders, Creative Director and Content Director (Jamie Stephenson and Marcella Williams; and Mallory Dawn and Jen Chase, respectively) share thoughts and memories about their mothers…the stuff they gleaned from them; the stuff they hope they give back to them; and the ways in which being a mom has moved some of us like nothing else in life could.
Jamie and Mia, and Being Led Down the Garden Path (…Literally)
For as long as I could remember, my mom was a single mom working at least two jobs. It wasn’t until I was 17 that she met Walter, and it was then that I saw her soften into what it felt like to be a woman who could enjoy a life lived with a little more time for her pursuits. He allowed her the time to explore her cooking and gardening skills. Both were parts of her life that would give back to him (and all of us) for many years to come.
I’ll never forget the day I went to their home for dinner. I was 22. Mom handed me a set of kitchen shears and a paper-lined colander, and asked me to go into the yard to harvest our dinner salad. I was freaked out.
“We can’t eat that! We grew it!” I said.
Her reply? “Exactly. We grew it, and it’s the very best. Now hurry up.”
Later at dinner, my mind was blown. Those leaves were delicious and tender, and they’d been growing in her garden just minutes before. That was the day the proverbial seed was planted in my mind—that the power of fruits and veggies—fresh, raw and powerful—was truly food for the body and soul.
“Eat your veggies, they’re good for you.”
“Maybe. In the future.”
I will never forget the day my ex-husband and I decided we were ready for a baby. A month later we were expecting, and I knew it was a little girl. I could feel it in my gut. I could actually see her face in my mind… her warm smile, her kind eyes. I knew her name, envisioned her laughter and could not wait to finally meet her.
She changed my life in so many ways. It was not until I knew I was pregnant did I start to really be conscious about what I put into my body. It began with increasing my fruits and vegetables and minimizing anything processed or refined. I wasn’t just feeding myself, I was literally creating another human…a human who would grow to be a thriving toddler, an energetic child and eventually a young adult. She needed the best quality foods and nutrients I could give her in this most crucial time of development.
They say love is a verb, and though I couldn’t voice it to her yet, I could show her love in the best way I knew how.
I remember sitting in History 102 class and was about 15 weeks along when I felt the first kick. People say it feels like butterflies, but this was just little bit stronger. I pushed on my stomach right where I felt it and she kicked back! We went back and forth a few times and I started to tear up. My professor looked at me kinda crazy. He must have thought I had a soft spot for the roaring 20’s and The Great Gatsby—and I did!—but the welling of my eyes came from my first interaction with my beautiful baby girl.
I remember reading all of those baby books and about how she was developing, and the minute I knew she could hear my voice, I began to sing to her. I sang anything from lullabies to random love songs. One song in particular was You Were Meant for Me, by Jewel. I will never forget the first time I sang it to her at five weeks old, she looked up at me and smiled her very first smile!
Sophia Maria was born on July 12, 2006, 8 pounds, 3 ounces and 21 inches long. I knew I loved her before I met her but never could imagine how much you could truly love someone unconditionally…until 6:30 p.m., when she laid on my chest for the very first time. Watching her grow over the years has been a blessing that so many people do not get to experience. I live each day with gratitude, trying so hard to make each day count and live in the present.
Mallory and Mimi: Childhood Lessons Enrich Long Into Life
Jen and Heidi: Sacrifice Leads To Mother-Daughter Soulmates
Before she was my sister’s mother or mine, she was Heidi Ange Morris. Ange wasn’t for Angela but Ange, with an a sound like in hand. Heidi was because her mother loved the book. The Morris was from a man whose liquid demons pissed away the love he could’ve long enjoyed from his wife and kids but couldn’t. And Chase was from the man who blessed her with her children.
Motherhood hasn’t been my mother’s easiest-won gift, but she’d probably say it’s her life’s greatest. And fortunately, because she shares herself freely beyond the boundaries of blood, her mothering has been a gift to others. As a longtime elementary school teaching assistant, I’ve watched her foster deep relationships with younger colleagues. My lifelong girlfriends have turned to her during times of painful coming-outs, or when they needed care for their children when their own families were miserably unsupportive. My high school sweetheart and his wife are wholeheartedly friendly with her. She’s that mom. And growing up, despite a few naturally occurring blue periods in the lore of estrogen-heavy households, I deeply knew I was lucky.
I wrote most of that recalling our relationship from my youth through college years. But if you’re lucky to have been raised by certain parents, under certain circumstances, a paradigm shift can happen in your 30s if the proverbial shit hits your fan and you start grasping for their experience-based guidance. Maybe we hope their Smart Genes will save us from stupidity, but around 30-something is when you realize your parents are real adults with real-life chapters…and that maybe they really do understand, because they’ve experienced similar challenges long before you did. In my case, one lived out West before admitting like Dorothy that there’s no place like home (…in Massachusetts). One was married when the two of them fell in love. One had a mid-life crisis and lived in a hotel for a week. One lost a business, mojo and life way too young. Both of them had to navigate raising a special needs infant beside a typical toddler. And ironically, neither ventured far from their own mother. Least never for long. They made all these disparate parts of their lives work, coming together to be the kind of parent I often wish I was.
Mum has devoted her life to making my sister’s life comfortable. And as my parent, she’s been selfless; honest; and at times, her advice has been so right as effing rain I’d swear she was a seer. But most important, as she’s balanced motherhood and personhood (and isn’t it amazing that as kids we don’t really see our parents are “real” people?) she raised me with love. Boundless. She is my friend, my comfort, my confidante, my heart. She doesn’t like what I eat but loves what I cook. She rarely finds what I find funny but finds me funny, which is 10 kinds of awesome since hers is a laugh I seek. I choose her company and she chooses mine. And if I’ve learned anything from her, it’s strength. Strength by example. I don’t display her gumption on the reg, but I’m glad it’s in my marrow. Somewhere.
The picture above was from before Heidi Chase was anyone’s mother. It’s a candid from a shoot where she was asked to model hairdos. Frankly, it embarrasses her because she’s incredibly shy—she was 20s-ish, maybe?—but man, I love her look. Quiet and sophisticated. Soft. Eye makeup just so, always and still. She wasn’t thinking about doling out Erin’s seizure meds or worrying if I’d smile again after my marriage ended. It was just her, back when it could be. And the pic drives me to be a daughter that gives her moments of her past life in this one, where she need only think of herself. Like kajillions of adult kids like you or others who have been raised by amazing people (blood variety or not), I’m grateful to be my mother’s daughter, to have her as my friend, and to be allowed to be hers. Because that stuff is never a given, but a blessing to be earned on both sides.
Now ABOUT that promo….
Mother’s Day 2016: #TJSMomsForJLo
It’s true. TJS wants you to celebrate Mom’s Day with JLo.
And no, we’re not sending her to your house. (Fo sho we’re rad but not *that* rad.) Read to the end, though. This deal’s still the goods….
For everything the mother figure in your life does to keep yo’ shit in line, we’ve got quite possibly the best booty-shakin’ promo of all time. (At least for the first quarter of 2016.)
Since TJS is all about maintaining WHealth™ on the inside and out, we like encouraging you Bees to push your personal healthy-choice envelopes. And since occasional incentives are swell, here’s a doozy.
We wanna see you and your three-day fast bottles! Why? Beecuase we frikkin’ heart you, and we want you Bees to have a little extra pusha-push-push to enjoy one of our crazy-delicious three-day juice fasts. We honestly think you’ll love it enough, you might make it a tool in your healthy-living toolbox every quarter or so to improve your WHealth™ and glowing self. So we seriously hope you’ll do this:
1) From now through 31 May, show us your prettiest Instagram pics(s) of you and your three-day fast. And in the comments of your pics, use your very best words to express one of the following thoughts:
- Your best “Shit Moms Says” advice (and it doesn’t have to be from your own Moms—it can be from a mother figure in your life). What’s something Moms says that makes your eyes roll? Belly laugh? Heart sing? Do tell.
- Best thing you’ve learned from Moms or your moms-ish figure.
- Your fave thing about being a moms yourself…either to your own littletons or littletons in your life whom you cherish.
- What’s something you’ve vowed to do when you become a parent someday?
3) Wake up June 1 and hope like hell you were picked to win two tix to JLo’s June 8 performance at PH (“Planet Hollywood,” if you’re not local).
And that’s pretty much it.
* Gift value is at about $517. (Thought you’d like to know.)
* Must you take Moms? No. But if she’s likes JLo you’ll be Kid of the Year. ’Til 2019.
* The show is June 8. That’s the only date. It may not be changed. It may not be exchanged. Do us a solid and don’t ask, beg or plead for another option. We cry when friends cry in front of us.