A few months ago, I had every intention of hosting an event where women my age(ish) would invite their mothers, mentors, grandmothers, etc. with the purpose of honoring and celebrating them, the woman who have gone before us. I was inspired by Oprah (surprise, surprise) and the realization that we spend a lot of time celebrating events in the younger years of life (sweet sixteens, wedding showers, baby showers, etc) but not the older years. I excitedly sent out emails and brainstormed in my journal how to make everything deliciously drentched with meaning. BUT unfortunatley, as often happens, life got in the way of planning and my grand idea never came to fruition.
In light of my failed attempt at a glorious ceremony, I would like to write a few jottings about the woman in my life and what they have given me:

My Mother, Mary Theresa Belmonte-Lindhartsen: From my mother I get the ability to analyize my thoughts, feelings, and actions. From my mother I hear the reminders to be gentler toward myself and more gracious of others. I know it is from her that I get my loud voice and troubling diposition to tell inappropraite stories in public, but also my desire to always be with people, laughing. Any time I see in me a child-like excitement about anything, I know it is my mother within me. I hope that I will get from her the ability to parent with joy and awe, to always be avaible for my children to play with, like she did with us. Once, my younger brother, all of 4 years old, answered my mother’s request for him to play blocks with her by saying, “Alright Mom, I’ll play with you. But I’m doing this for you, not me.” I hear Mom teaching me right from wrong and lessons like “You shouldn’t have to be asked to help, you should just help when you see there is a need.” and when a misbehaving friend would come over to play, when they’d leave, she would say, “I hope you don’t act like that at other peoples’ houses.” In my earliest memories of her, I feel her cloaking me in acceptance and love. I chuckle that when she sees in me a quality unlike her (such as my desire for organization or my love of baking) she laughs and says, “Where did you come from?” or her more famous, “You do not get that from me.” I cherrish the things I do get from her, though, and I love her.

My Grandmother, Catherine Belmonte: From her, I get my name. I have inherited from her a storytelling style that can not and will not leave a single detail unsaid. I worry, like she does, and say every thought or feeling that comes to my mind, for better or for worse. Although my mother taught me how to apply lipstick, Grandma’s enromous collection of lipsticks kept me busy for hours on Sunday afternoons. (She even had a lipstick that looked white but when you put it on your lips it promised to change to the perfect shade for your skin tone…I didn’t like my “perfect shade” much). Grandma laughs a lot, a trait of hers my husband pointed out the last time we saw her, and it’s true. She also can take a joke (and you have to in our family), she just laughs right along.

My mother-in-law, Caron Loveless: I see in my mother-in-law parts myself celebrated as well. I take a lot of joy in our similarities. We share an appreciation for all things beautifully created: words, thoughts, paintings, a good outfit, a beautiful table setting or decorations for a party. We share a desire for meaning in all things, for continued learning and research in the things that interest us. She can spend hours reading about Genghis Khan because something about him peaks her interest. I like that about her because I see that in myself. During our vacation, she and I spent countless hours sitting silently next to eachother painting, lost in watercolor and acrylics, absorbed in our subject but glad for the company of a kindred spirit. While writing this, I asked my husband if he could see how I was similar to his mother, he responded by saying, “You both try to be my boss…” Funny, huh?


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