(Guest blog from Valerie, of Bears & More)
letters-tied-with-pink-ribbon Mother’s Day. I’m not what would be considered a mushy person. I avoid lovey dovey greeting cards like the plague. Short and sweet, to the point, no fuss – that’s my style. But my mom on the other hand, the cards she gives me for every occasion are (in my words) cringe-worthy, mushy gushy, and worthy of all the eye rolls I can do without getting a headache. Some days I do believe she does that just to torment me. What she does not know is I keep all those cards tied up in a pink ribbon in a dresser drawer, and have old ones from long ago in a treasure box. And about once a year, they all get re-read by me, when no one else is around. I come from a family of strong women. My grandmother at one time was asked to be a professional woman wrestler. I love that! She doesn’t know that for years now I have dubbed her “Marilyn the Masher.” Having holiday dinners at her house when I was little with the entire family is what inspired me to start the tradition at my home years ago. My oldest aunt has been a small business owner for pretty much my entire life. She (like me) doesn’t have any kids. She’s been a great mentor to me in the business world. Work hard, make time for your family, laugh loud and often, and be loyal. Never one to shy away from hard questions and answers, she tells it like it is and makes the best of every situation. My youngest aunt used to dress me up in all sorts of wacky outfits when I was little and we all lived together in one house. There are pictures or evidence of the torment as some would call it. This aunt has raised 2 beautiful women I am lucky to have as cousins. She is strong, imaginative, and loving. Her oldest daughter is raising a little girl of her own now, and that little girl is full of love, giggles, and smiles. Her youngest daughter lives nearby and gets to be an important part of that little girl’s life. Valerie-with-reindeer These aunts are my mom’s sisters. My mom has worked hard her entire life. I have inherited her talent of falling down at inopportune times. She isn’t the best cook (sorry mom), but she allowed me to try things in the kitchen. She wasn’t crafty, but she didn’t discouraged my imagination. She is cautious, but when I decided to open a business with my mother-in-law 24 years ago, she didn’t call the men with the white coats to come take me away. I married my high school sweetheart, which means I’ve known my mother-in-law for over 30 years now. This woman raised 3 boys, and so wanted a daughter. When we got married my husband placed my hand in hers and said, “Here’s the daughter you always wanted”. Yes, he’s a lot mushier than me, and I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes then too. We’ve had a lot of fun and traveled to different places on the hunt for the best products for the business. What does all this have to do with Mother’s Day? Well, I encourage you to think about all the women in your life, the relatives, in-laws, or friends. We all have those women, be they younger or older, peers, mentors, advisors, bosses or employees that have in one way or another “mothered us” when we needed it. We opened our shop in Catlin Court 24 years ago and have been in business so long that some of our customers’ daughters are now mothers themselves. We love the annual Mother’s Day Celebration in Historic Downtown Glendale. It’s different every year, but what is consistent is the ladies that come down to the town, do so to celebrate the important women in their lives. They dress up, they eat a nice lunch (most always followed by a dessert), and then stroll the area together enjoying each other’s company. Sometimes there are special activities to do together, flowers to collect, and sales to shop. But always, there is laughter, love, and memories made that will last a lifetime. Every year there is a group that this is their first time to the Mother’s Day Celebration with their mom, and sadly there are those that it is the last time with their mom. To all those women in my life past and present, and especially to those closest to me, my mom, grandma, auntie, cousin, mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, and my closest friends, I say this … What I am, you helped me to be. Happy Mother’s Day. valerie-birthday-group(The picture is … Back row: Aunt Sandy, me, my Mom Glenna Front row: Little cousin Kaylee, Aunt LuAnn, Grandma Marilyn