Women, Family and Fancy Plates

I lead a mentoring circle for professional women in my company. We meet monthly and share advice and experiences. I have come to realize that gems of wisdom can be found anywhere you look for them. You might think you are the “teacher” on some occasions, but it’s just a ruse. We are all perpetual students.

The women I work with are all beautiful and unique. They are so different from one another, and yet they mesh so well. It’s like music.

Last month we decided to shake things up a bit and let the mentees begin to run the meetings. A name was picked at random from a hat, and that person had to organize, schedule and chair our next event. The first person to be selected was a lovely, vivacious young woman in public relations. She asked each of us to bring some information on a person or event that truly inspired us. We each took our homework very seriously.

It was amazing to see that each of these women, all of whom have such different life stories and experiences, chose to share a story about a close family member. As a mother to be, I was so touched by the legacy that seems to bind these women to the wisdom of their ancestors. I keep thinking about my own future son, and wonder what we endow to him.?What stories will he have to share about us? How can we make an impression on him to become a sensitive, intuitive and empathetic man?

The story I chose to share was about my mother. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, the family rallied together to support her. It was a particularly difficult time, as one would imagine. My mother used to work for an oncologist, and she was so skilled at putting the patients and their loved ones at ease that the Doctor changed her job so that she could work directly with the families in the waiting room. My mother would sit out among distraught loved ones and help them through the long wait of outpatient surgery. She truly had a gift with people.

Now it was my mother who was to be in the OR with the Doctor. A few days before her procedure we sat down to a big feast. She wanted to celebrate our family, and the fact that we were all together. Then she said something casually that I will never forget…

“Why do we save the nice plates for special occasions?” she asked. “From now on, I want to eat off of the nice plates every day.”

This might seem like a forgettable comment to some, but I understood the significance of it. I come from a family of “savers”. We covet our special things and take them out for notable occasions. In her own way, my mother was asking us to celebrate every day. To wait no longer, because who really knows what tomorrow will bring?

My mother is doing well now. She has been cancer free for several years and is a real blessing in our family. When the Bear and I married, we registered for “special”plates like the ones my mother spoke about. We eat off them everyday and not a day passes that I don’t think about what she told me.

Savor each moment. Don’t save up for “special occasions” as today is truly a blessing….



One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Betsy on May 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    One can see by reading your posts, that you have lots of your moms traits — your kindness comes through in your posts.

    And, you are a great writer. Really enjoy your blog.


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