A huge THANKS goes out to three beautiful ladies whom I consider the mothers of this article. It goes without saying mum is the original mother, the Queen Bee, as without her who’d have typed these words?
As for mum’s glorious portrait photo crowning this article, that one’s by Jennifer who founded Vividity Photography to serve as a mirror that shows women their own beauty. One day I will get the full story of how and where her business was conceived. For now, I can offer my personal experience that I haven’t come across anyone more devoted to creating treasured experiences and photographs than Jennifer.
The third person who inspired this article is my youngest aunt Berna, who is eighteen years younger than mum. Berna has such a young spirit that my young daughters consider her a playmate as do I. She’s one of those rare people who’s never lost her playful approach to life. No matter what her birthday cake candles say, she is forever young. Last year when we visited Istanbul for mum’s birthday, it was Berna who told me to write a letter to mum as a birthday present.
So now it’s become a family tradition. This is the second consecutive year I’m writing mum a letter to remind her of all the things she taught me.
Where You Can’t Find Value Add Value
I remember when we moved to the US when I was 11 that one of the things we took for granted was the fresh food mum cooked for us. We didn’t realise that many of our schoolmates didn’t get home-cooked meals and though we had lunches to bring to school, we would give anything to buy and eat the crappy cafeteria food like everyone else. We didn’t appreciate mum’s cooking, and truth be told, mum is an experimenter who doesn’t usually plan but at the last minute looks in the fridge and throws everything together in a rush in a pot or a pan, with results varying from awful to awesome.
When I was a teenager, mum had found her way to farmers’ markets. She was baking boreks, pastries with vegetable filling which she was always experimenting and developing into new textures and flavours. She never settled for the usual spinach and feta filling, which was her Flagstaff but kept pioneering borek as we know it, bringing portobello, eggplant, bulghur and all sorts of wonderful new fillings not traditionally associated with borek. The markets taught her to plan ahead and show up and her at the markets showed up for her and before long she’d built a community who would line up in front of her stall to get their fresh breakfast.
Mum didn’t find that we, her family, valued her food as much as we should and noticed that there are poor wealthy Americans craving fresh food and her business was born. She brought value to many DC residents’ breakfast experience and my mother’s daughter, I seek to bring truth through my writing to people who aren’t nourished by candy-coated media messages. Not all mother-daughter relationships are perfect and it took me thirteen years to find the mother within me so that I could reparent myself to be able to show up for myself, my daughters and my own mum.
Pomegranates are full of controversy. At least in our house, they were. My father’s way of eating them was all about meticulously separating every seed and putting them in a bowl and mum just opened the fruit and ate it off its skin. Her method was faster but sometimes the bitter-tasting thin white inner skin still attached to the seeds ended up in your mouth. The way mum eats pomegranates is actually better for your health because it is that skin with its sharp flavour that packs most of the health benefits.
These days, whenever I see a pomegranate, I think of mum. The way the fruit appears, in its orange-red colour with a crown on its head is very feminine to me. It is full of seeds that represent potential and fertility and that reminds me off mum’s creativity. Surely, the pomegranate is a whole lot more than just its seeds. It’s a whole experience that must be savoured. Not an easy task to open it up and eat it, but truly nourishing when you overcome your fears of stains and just go for it. And ain’t that the human experience? Who knows what will get ruined when you open up with your true emotions, but how else can you be truly fulfilled if you aren’t willing to taste some bitterness?
Work on Your Relationships
The way I see relationships is that they are lifelines. They connect us to life and to each other. Each relationship forms a line and those lines connect to form a picture called fate. I was always a hard worker who’d spill her backpack as soon as she got home to do her homework. This pattern of putting work above all else carried over to adulthood and mum would tell me, “take care of your relationships. They are as important as work. They are in fact, the real work.” Of course, I’d ignore her and carry on expecting everyone to get straight down to business or a project without ever bothering to ask how everyone was feeling or whether they were up for the work at hand.
Is it any real wonder that I didn’t have too many friends?
Is it any wonder that I struggled with keeping jobs? It all seems so obvious in hindsight but I can’t change the past. I can only apply these realisations to bring my ultimate dream of publishing my memoir to fruition.
Over to you…
What are three things you learned from your mum? Please e-mail me, Eda@WritePublishGrow.com. I can’t wait to find out.