Houzz.com asked me to write something about my mother for an article they are running this weekend about interior designers and their moms. After I submitted it, they asked me some additional info about aging in place and planning for physical challenges in the bathroom. I have no idea how it will be edited or how those remarks will be included in their piece, so I'm publishing it here the way I wrote it. I was really happy to be asked to contribute and actually had been thinking about this for some time......how to tell my mother thanks for something that I hadn't even thought of as a real gift for all these years.
The minute I received the request I sat down and started writing and it just poured out. As your children grow up, you remember things that happened at those points in your life when you were that age. Since my children have gone off to college, I've often thought about my mother and father and how they sent me off into the world. Here's what I submitted.
A lot of designers come to this profession later in life, after they’ve had their “real” career, their career that they knew would give them a good living and sustain them financially. As time goes on, they realize that life is just too short to be wasted doing something you don’t love, no matter what the income level.
I knew early on in my life that I wanted to be a designer. When I was in junior high, we had to recarpet some areas of our house and my mother let me pick the carpet for my room. My first design project! I loved it. After choosing some new bedding, I pulled a color out to use for the carpet and paint. When the carpet was installed, I moved furniture around, created little vignettes, hung momentoes for an art wall, and fell in love with interior design.
I came from a family of teachers. My mother was an elementary school teacher, my father a principal, and my sister ended up becoming an elementary music teacher. After winning a local design competition for high school students in my area, my fate was sealed. I wanted to major in interior design in college. My practical, teacher parents could have advised me the way most parents would......”How are you going to make a living at that?” or "Do you need to go to college for that?"....but they NEVER said anything like it. They just let me make my own decision, blessed my path with their love and money, and off I went, never having any doubts or worries about my career choice.
Having had children of my own in college recently, with one as a photography major and one as an engineer, I have looked back on the way my parents approached my decisions about my life. I am so grateful for their support and absence of negativity. I have no doubt I was born to do this. Anything else would’ve been so unfulfilling.
Over the years, after my father passed, my mother has moved a few times. Each time she looked for me to help her make the home hers. I’ve done so with much gratitude and love. It’s been a small return on her investment and belief in me. In her present home recently, we made her bathroom more accessible with grab bars and wider doorway which have come in so handy. She’s so proud of me, with some of the magazines I’ve been published in gracing her coffee table and newspaper clippings hanging on the frig. I just can’t express what that means to me and how her love and support influenced my life.
One of the things I feel is a parent’s biggest responsibility is to help their child find their passion and calling in life. My mother did just that, by providing opportunity for me to explore my career path, for supporting me financially to achieve that dream, and for respecting my decisions and blessing them with her love and pride.
On this Mother’s Day, I hope she knows how big this has been for me.
Much love and thanks, Mother.
(Look how pretty she is! In her 80's!)