Wishing Away Mother’s Day

Mary Dell writes: Nine years ago my father died shortly before Father’s Day. That first year I wanted to close my eyes and pretend there was no special day honoring dads as my grief was fresh and overwhelming. As Mother’s Day nears, I am grateful to have had my 87-year old mom in my life for so long. But in thinking about my good fortune, I am saddened for those who are not so lucky. In particular, my thoughts are with a 17-year old boy who may be wishing away Mother’s Day as he remembers the mom he lost in February.

Mother's Day, roses

At her funeral, I heard him speak about her with exceptional tenderness and composure. As he talked about what she meant to him, he described her generous love. Here are some of the ways he remembered her:

My Mom opened the world to me and gave me a kid’s perfect life. We read books over and over together. Mom was my playmate and my biggest fan.

We traveled to see God’s beauty in nature.

My mother taught me kindness, honesty, reliability and thrift.

By her example, she showed me to value my family and friends, to eat good food, to exercise, to be energetic and to work hard. She wanted to have fun and laugh, every single day, and to love people and accept love from them. She was always grateful for God’s blessings.

Mom led a peaceful life. She treated everyone she met as her friend, so she had lots of friends. She walked with [our dog] happily greeting neighbors, the 2-legged and the 4-legged ones. Each day, she spent time in spiritual practice to make herself a better person and be closer to God. She was authentic, always herself, every minute.

She taught me that I am her rare treasure, like no other person. I am her treasure. She will always be with me in my heart and mind.

On this Mother’s Day, I grieve for this wonderful person who was so dedicated to her son. I see that her legacy comes from the reading, the travel, the laughter, the lessons. She leaves behind memories of kindness and love and happiness and caring.

His words are a reminder to me that every day we have a chance to be a loving parent is a good day.

Mother-Daughter Shopping with Graduation on the Horizon

Our daughter will soon turn in final papers and tests, which will wind down another year of school. This spring feels like no other because she is a senior and this is her season of lasts. During these final few weeks she will join her friends at the Prom, Awards Day, and finally Graduation to mark much more than just the end of the term. So in our daughter’s closet are the new dresses, shoes and accessories she will wear for these truly special occasions. For parents of girls, in particular, senior spring is also a season of shopping!graduation

Fortunately, she often includes me (and my American Express card) on her quest to find the “perfect” outfits and, according to The Wall Street Journal, we are not alone.

The mother-daughter shopping trip is expanding into new territory. Moms and their girls follow the same retailers on social media, trade photos of clothes and create joint pin boards of looks they plan to shop for, whether online or in a traditional trip to the mall. 

In a recent survey of 12- to 19-year-old girls, 74% said their parents were “very involved” or “involved” in shopping with them. According to the Futures Company, a consulting firm; 78% said they respected older family members’ opinions. Mothers, meanwhile, are adopting youthful looks retailers say. The result is women’s and girls styles are converging.

Shopping together has given me a front row seat to watch our daughter evolve from “little girl cute” to a young woman who has her own unique, slightly-preppy sense of style. During the hours we have wandered in stores and shopped on-line, she has learned basics of consumer economics – she gravitates toward the sale racks and pays attention to return policies. She reads the fine print about fabric care (avoid costly “dry clean only”) and watches for the purchase threshold for free shipping.

My newest lesson for her comes courtesy of the Amex card I have had for decades. I recently added Amex Offers to my card which, frankly, couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Here are the features that I love:

1. Personalized Offers

Offers are curated for me based on where I have shopped in the past. That makes this a highly personalized program.

2. Simple to Connect

AmexOffers.com is simple to navigate. Just click on “Save” to add any Offer you choose. I downloaded the app onto my smartphone. I look up rewards in any location, while I’m on the go. You can also connect your card to social networks and add the Offers to your Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, or TripAdvisor accounts.

3. No coupons!

There are no codes to complicate the process or coupons to forget on the kitchen counter. Thank you for this, Amex, truly.

4. Savings are Significant

Substantial savings await. Currently more than $15 Million in savings for card members are available for the taking. Discounts I have nabbed range from $5 for iTunes to $75 at Elie Tahari – there is a wide range and variety so take a look to see what works for you! In addition to the retailers where I have taken advantage of offers this spring I have Amex gift cards in mind for the other grads on my list.

Delighted that Amex Offers are helping me and my daughter as Graduation looms ever larger on the horizon.

I received compensation in exchange for writing this review.  Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

Sweepstakes

BlogHer will randomly pick a commenter on this post to receive a $100.00 AmericanExpress® GiftCard at the end of the sweepstakes period (May 31, 2014.) All you have to do to enter is comment below with the answer to this question: What do you like most about Amex Offers?

 

Sweepstakes Rules:
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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#AmexOffers” and “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/5-5/31

Be sure to visit the Amex Offers brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Change, Ambivalence and the Facts About Stay-at-Home Moms

Stay-at-home motherhood is a highly examined aspect of modern life with a Babylon-level of voices and opinions. Lisa weighed in last summer with her writing, Nine Reasons I Regret Being a Stay at Home Mom, Grown and Flown’s most widely read and debated post to date. When Pew released research this week entitled, After Decades of Decline, A Rise in Stay-at-Home Mothers, we thought it was time to take another look at the facts and stereotypes that surround mothers who do not work outside the home. Regardless of one’s opinion on the “optimal way” for parents to raise their children and provide for them financially, having a grasp on the facts should be the shared starting point.

stay at home mom, Pew

While Pew’s research showed a marked increase in the number of SAHMs, the causes of this increase were manifold: lack of childcare, declining employment opportunities for those without a university degree and a drop in women’s participation in the labor force.

[Read more…]

Calm Before the Storm, Hurricane Sandy

calm before the storm, empty nest, college son

Dear Son,

While I trust you will be absolutely fine in your college dorm room these next few days with Hurricane Sandy heading toward shore, I cannot help but worry. You may be 22 years old but my instinct to protect you and your sister will remain undiminished throughout my life. Today it is the calm before the storm and we are prepared here at home. Unlike every other storm, this is the first time you have not been with us when the forecast has turned grim. A large swath of the eastern part of the country is in harm’s way and that includes you, dear.  So, just in case you have not already thought of these things, please humor me – you are good at it – and keep reading: [Read more…]

My Mother’s Necklace: The Lavaliere

Cathy, a Grown and Flown friend writes: Her face was a perfect oval, with large round deep-set eyes and a Roman nose. That face possessed a genuine beauty far exceeding the allure of any gemstone. The wedding band she wore was gold, small and unobtrusive.  She rarely wore other jewelry, saving her lavaliere for special occasions. Her jet black hair was always simple, pulled back in a chignon or loose and wavy around her face. She was, in fact, of Roman descent. My mother.
lavaliere necklace, lavaliere, mother, grandmother, vintage photograph of woman

If I close my eyes and think of her, I picture her in a pair of Bermuda shorts, blouse tucked in, sneakers on, headed out to the garden to weed. Or dressed in a pale yellow shift dress with a simple pair of pumps and a handbag. Her skin was medium olive and she tanned easily. As a girl, she spent summers in Milford, Connecticut where her father, an Italian immigrant and New York merchant, had a summer home. There she learned to seed the garden, look for plover’s eggs and listen to the sound of the sea as it strummed the shoreline. Raised in the city, she was a country girl at heart.

The youngest of six children, two older sisters brought her up upon her mother’s passing at her sixteenth birthday. We often pondered her life as a girl in Manhattan with a busy father and all older siblings but she rarely spoke of it. The here and now was her focus: she loved her family with genuine devotion. Each of us had our own little piece of her. And all those pieces were our gems, each different. For me, she was my shoulder, my respite, my refuge, and my confidante. She used to call me her rock. But it was she who had the real strength.

Mom had a knack for letting one feel her dedication was special, just for them. Each of my sisters and I were married in a three-year period. My youngest sister was first, right out of college, marrying her high school sweetheart. I was her maid of honor. She celebrated her thirty-first anniversary in October. The next year my older sister married an artist. She wore a dress of Mexican lace and a crown of flowers, both offsetting her astonishing turquoise eyes. I was her bridesmaid. She’s been married for thirty years. The next year brought my Tommy and me to the altar. We were married for twenty-four years.

My mother looked beautiful at my wedding. She wore a simple dress and the one piece of jewelry she owned. The lavaliere. The necklace was very old and intricate. Platinum, with small diamonds and emeralds, it rested gently at the base of her throat and shimmered ever so slightly when discovered by a piece of light. My sisters and I had tried that necklace on in mom’s bedroom countless times. I’m sure she knew it. My mother never put a monetary value on “things”-they were not really important to her. Her jewel box was empty, save for the lavaliere. Her jewels were her four children, my father and her deep red roses scrambling up the trellis at the side of our home. I learned so much from her and I never knew she was teaching me anything at the time. She was just herself-loyal, faithful and true. She left us on a warm spring morning in May of 2005, just as the peonies were about to bloom. And the lavaliere? It went to my youngest sister, just waiting to be worn on a special occasion.