by Kasey Tross
But beyond all of those things, there is something I see in my brother and sister and me that my mother nurtured that I think is incredibly valuable: we all reach for our dreams. From my brother, who spent his childhood playing with Legos and now splits his time between his office computer and sites where he dons a hard hat and makes sure the plans he designed on that computer are being properly executed, to me who used to fill journals and notebooks with my stories and now am finishing up a novel. This Mother’s Day I decided to spend some time pondering this, and see if I could look back into my childhood (and recent years as well) and figure out how the heck she did that. Because don’t we all want our kids to reach for their dreams?
1. She said, “Why not?” I remember all kinds of schemes I had when I was a kid. My brother and I used to come up with a new idea every other minute, from opening our very own nature center to selling friendship bracelets to kids at school. I always had big ideas, and my mom’s response was always, “Sure, why not? Go for it!” She never gave me the reasons why so many of those ideas wouldn’t work- as I recall, she let me figure those out on my own. She just happily helped with whatever she could and then got out of my way.
“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” - Shakespeare
3. She made me want to be better. My mom is one of the classiest women I know. She is one of those people you would never hesitate to invite to a fancy party or introduce to someone important because she is first class all the way. She has traveled the world and met famous people and had a life most people only dream of. I’ve always kind of had her on a pedestal, and I have felt the need to show her that her intelligence and grace and class are a legacy, and that I will carry it on. I don’t know how well I’ve done with that, but I’m trying.
Mom in front of one of her favorite sculptures at the Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.
5. She remembered who I was. When I was a teenager, I was a total brat. I mean, I talked back and thought I knew everything. Fortunately for me, my mom recognized that it was the hormones talking, and she used to say, “This isn’t you." Of course I always rolled my eyes at that, but once college hit and I was out on my own and I got some perspective, I started to understand what she meant, and I knew that despite my brattiness, she still loved me, and her reminders of that person I once was helped me to find her again.
My mom and me just before I ran the Monument 10k. She drove 3 hours to come cheer me on.
7. She didn’t let me quit. You know that saying, “If you fall off the horse, get right back on?” Well, my mom literally taught me that lesson. I remember when I was little and she was giving me a riding lesson. I fell off the horse and I was crying and I didn’t want to try again (I was scared, of course). She simply told me that wasn’t an option and that if I ever wanted to ride again, I would get back up on that horse. So I did. And she was right. It’s been a lesson that’s served me well: the harder something is to do, the more I probably need to do it. (And besides, I’m brave. Brave people don’t quit.)
Even today, my mom is still mothering me and helping me reach for my dreams. She listens to me rant about things without always offering me solutions (even though she knows them), she supports my crazy ideas and is my biggest cheerleader, and she still acts like she is amazed at all that I do. I just hope that somehow I can internalize all that she’s given me and find a way to pass it on to my kids to help them reach for their dreams.
Thank you for your incredible example of motherhood, Mom, and for giving me a legacy of reaching for dreams. Happy Mother’s Day!
*Side note- I sent my mom a video to tell her happy Mother’s Day and thank her for how she has inspired me and she responded with this: "You are so amazing and can do absolutely anything you set your mind to!!” :-)
**Another side note- Obviously, my mom was not the only one who influenced me growing up. I had a wonderful father, a fantastic stepfather, and an awesome stepmother as well. They all supported me and continued to support me and I love them dearly for it. :-)