With Mother’s Day upon us, it’s impossible for me not to think of my own mom. I miss her dearly and have been on this journey without her these last 7+ years. Though, to be honest, I never feel as if she’s “gone,” because I hear her voice in my head telling me to “be good to myself” and feel her with me every single day. I like to think that she’d approve of what I’m doing here with Wish Rock Relaxation and the fact that I get to help people every single day to do just that—take good care of themselves. We still have several great specials on now--make sure you check out our Mother's Day Sale here. Also, SAVE $100 on your order through Tuesday, 5/15/18 with code MOMS100. My mom taught me how to mother and I can only hope that I am nearly as good of a mom to my two girls as she was to me.
My mom was a southside of Chicago tough cookie. Her name was Julia Margie, but everyone called her Margie which suited her just fine. Before I came along, she ran an ornamental steel construction company and could often be found in the “holes” hiring and firing them. Her company put up the foundation for the old Playboy Club in Milwaukee and also the foundation for the Willis Tower in Chicago (the old Sears Tower) which was once the tallest building in the world. She suffered from what I will affectionately call “construction mouth” and could hold her own with the toughest of guys and didn’t back down easily. You knew where you stood with her immediately and she was a straight shooter. She met my dad when she was 37 years old and he was 27 years old and they had me within a year of being married.
She ran a bit of a tight ship—normal stuff really like making your bed every single morning, keeping your room tidy and helping around the house were my main jobs. Especially since I was swimming very competitively from such a young age. My mom was the mom that everyone could tell their secrets to. When I was in high school, my girlfriends would talk to her about their relationships with her instead of their own moms. She even had a few of them practice kissing on oranges and stood by as one of them waited for the results of a store-bought pregnancy test.
My mom made me a care package every single week for four years at the Naval Academy. I ate most of my dinners out of those care packages and so did my roommates. 😊 To lighten the tension, she would send me silly little rubber animals and bugs that said good luck. I would secretly bring those little reminders of life outside the Academy as I was taking particularly difficult exams. She had a very good heart and a funny sense of humor. But most of all, I knew that she had my back. I remember many runs when I was living with my parents for a short bit during grad school and my last tour in the Navy. She would always ask me how far I planned to go and then we would do the math on how long it would take me. She’d set a timer and bring out a lawn chair as the time got close. I got used to turning the last corner for the final 1/3 of a mile and seeing her stand up with a big smile on her face. She would start waving her one arm out wide with a big smile on her face and a glass of ice water in the other hand. As soon as I saw her, no matter how tired I might be, I always straightened up a bit, lengthened my stride and ran a little faster and smoother back home to mom.
What rituals do you remember doing with your mom? What seemingly small details put a smile on your face as you think of your mom? Take a moment and think of them. And then, share them with your family.
Recently, I was struck by the simple act of making bread with a good friend and touched that she would share her mom ritual with me. Jane is a friend who I ride with on a regular basis—in fact, she’s taught me everything that I know about road riding and I’ve really grown to respect her and enjoy our friendship. We often share a lot on our rides—a good mix of stories, recipes and whatever life events we’re currently pondering. Riding (and exercise in general) is a good time to reflect as you enter a zen state while the heart rate elevates and legs churn. After one of our rides, Jane gave me a taste her special whole grain bread. I was immediately impressed and wanted to learn how to make it. We finally made a plan for a rainy day to make her bread together.
Jane sent me over the recipe and I collected all of the ingredients to get ready for our domestic event. I headed over to her house with my bread machine and a slew of other ingredients in tow—whole grain flour, rye flour, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to name a few. But, what I hadn’t expected was the most special ingredient of all which was at her house. An integral part of the recipe was a bit (1/4 cup) of her mom’s sourdough starter from 20 years ago. This tangible piece of her mom, who had passed away around the same time as my mom, really touched me and made me feel very special to take part in this ritual with Jane. I had never made sourdough bread before—my mom was a raised dough Slovak baker who excelled at nut and poppy seed rolls, not bread. The bread was amazing (and incredibly healthy). If you’d like to check out Jane’s Whole Grain Seed Bread, I’d love to share it with you.
I found myself wishing that I had something living like that to make week after week from my mom. And then I realized that I actually do have something like that from her—it’s in the funny sayings that pop up in my mind at the last minute or the voice I hear in my head when I need it the most. Maybe I can’t eat bread weekly from sourdough starter that she actually started, but even better, I know and feel her with me every single day.
From my family to yours, I wish all of the mothers out there a wonderful Mother’s Day. Remember the good stories of your mom. Create new stories as a mom. Most of all, enjoy the day and know that you are loved.