I Get It From My Mama
If you're from Birmingham, or are familiar with the city, you've probably been to The Summit. If not, let me enlighten you. It’s a large outdoor shopping area, with some of the nicest stores and restaurants in town. It’s built on a ledge, so it feels like it overlooks the city. And lucky for me, I grew up living right behind it.
Fun Fact: my mom fought tooth and nail for it NOT to be built.
That’s right. Let that sink in Summit shoppers.
Delores did not want this huge "strip mall" to back up to a community she cared so deeply about. She went to zoning meetings and rallies in order to prove that this was not a good call. [To her defense, the builders did a lot of things they said they wouldn’t do. They ran over the some boundaries they originally set, and were pretty shady about a lot of things.]
And eventually, after all her work, they built it anyway.
In the weeks before it opened, there was a big sign out in front with the 'countdown until open' flashing. My mom wouldn't even use the newly paved, cut through road to go home, so as not to march on enemy soil. The first week it opened, I remember our neighbors coming home with a big bag from Bed Bath and Beyond and saying "Delores, I don’t know how you're going to not shop here." Update - Mom now shops at the Summit.
My mom also fought hard to have our community annexed into a better district. She knew the value of our homes, our schools, and just our overall community would be better.
And she won that one.
I think in many ways, we grow up fighting the parts of our parents we don’t want.
We don't want our kids to feel like we tell lame jokes. We promise to never make them feel bad for not cleaning their rooms. We vow to be a "Cool Mom" in a less-sketchy, Mean Girls kind of way.
And somewhere along the way, we can lose sight of all the ways they've shaped us into who we are.
I've gained some really great qualities from my mom over the years, who coined phrases like "some days are diamonds, and some days stones". A mom who to this day won't let us eat in the den, and who values painted toes over most anything. A mom who never loved to cook, but taught us that showing up to someone's house empty handed was unacceptable. A mom who taught to value ourselves and what we could offer first, and then to look for the same in someone else.
And if my mom taught me anything, it was that some things are worth fighting for. Or fighting against. Some things are worth standing your ground and trying to make a change for the better.
"You lose some.
You win some.
But in order to do either, you have to be brave enough to try"
I wrote an Instagram post a few years back describing my mom as someone who has given us roots and wings; someone who pushed us to try new things, but who's always provided a safe place to call home. She's a mom to two children who left our hometown to move away and pursue other ambitions. I know she wishes we lived closer, but I also know she's so dang proud of who we've become.
And there is something so special and impactful about a mom who believes in who you are.
The parts I got from my mom are woven so deeply inside me and are forever ingrained in who I am. And I don’t always take the time to recognize that.
In light of this Sunday, I hope we all take some time to appreciate the ways our moms have helped shape who we are today and remind them of the ways they've spurred us on to be better people.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!