Yesterday my mom came up to help me organize my apartment so it’s nice and easy for me to get around when I am
detained recovering after my surgery. She was so positive and upbeat even when facing the unorganized atrocity that was my hobby room.
I expected a small chastisement, an “Oh, Kayla, how did you let it get this bad?” kind of thing. But mom has never really been like that. When I was younger she would tell me to clean up my room and make my sister and I participate in the ritual Saturday cleaning days, but she never yelled or scolded about it (ok, maybe once or twice). Her constant positive vibes and smile, even while facing this monstrous disorganization, was enough to get me into a good mood too.
It got me thinking about all the amazing women in my family and the wonderful influence they have had on me.
First things first, my Mom, the first woman of my family that I met. She has always urged me to try new things, knowing the full extent of my shyness and hard time meeting people and making friends. But the best thing that she has taught me is to always look on the bright side of things and to respect people. She also taught me (and I learned this many times the hard way) to never give up. As you can imagine, I learned this through me wanting to give up on something, and her, many times having to pull the “Mom” card, wouldn’t let me. The lesson was swift and final; follow through with what you started.
On top of being amazing, my mom is one of the most caring women I know. She is an amazing nurse with a huge heart and she loves her job, even when she gets vomited on (literally or figuratively). She connects with her patients in a way that many people cannot even connect with their own family members. She has a way of putting people at ease, even when they are in great pain or are going through emotional turmoil. Her friends are just as caring and she has surrounded herself with an amazing group of people. She is a no-nonsense kind of person and I also learned from her that gossip and pettiness are a waste of time, and only end up hurting the people you talk about, as well as yourself.
The only thing I can think of that I don’t like about my mom is that she smokes, she has since she was 16 years old. But I am so proud to say, to brag, even, that she has stopped smoking! I think she is coming up on five months now. She can do anything she sets her mind to, and this is probably the most amazing thing she has done. I am so, so proud of her accomplishments.
The second woman in my family that had an incredible impact on me was Great-Grandma Roberts. She was a strong-willed, smart, hardworking and amazing woman. I would go to her house, where she lived alone until she was 96 years old, and help her clean. I loved listening to her stories, but I didn’t like cleaning with her. She was very particular about how things should be clean. When I was younger, I thought it was just because she was an old lady set in her ways, but as I grew older I learned that she believed that if a job was worth doing, it should be done right and done well. Even if she believed that the way to get the job done right was washing her windows with a putrid and painful mixture of three parts boiling water, one part vinegar and one part ammonia (no lie) and after washing the window with a cloth, then a lint free cloth, you went over them with the Star Tribune, that we would walk together to pick up in the morning before the sun got too hot, because the Star Trib uses the best paper/ink combo for a streak-free window.
The next set of wonderful women are my grandmothers. My maternal grandmother had nine children and my paternal grandmother had eight. That alone makes them amazing in my book. But beyond that, they are both extremely hard-working, inspiring and creative. They grew these amazingly huge gardens to feed and provide for their families. My maternal grandmother taught me how to butcher a chicken, sew a quilt and bake the best food I have ever eaten. My paternal grandmother inspired me to paint and craft. When my dad was young, she and my grandfather would make all sorts of crafts and made beautiful woodworking pieces. My Mom told me yesterday that if it could be painted, grandma would paint it. Along with teaching me to be crafty and resourceful, they also showed me that to be fully content, all you need is someone you can trust to spend your life with and the value of a hard day’s work.
The next amazing women in my life are my wonderful Aunties. I have many, many amazing memories with all my aunts and I am happy to have grown up close enough to them that I was able to be a part of their lives frequently. All of them have the same upbeat, positive attitude that my mom has. It is an attitude that makes me feel like I can do anything I want to.
My Auntie Laura has been one of the most influential to me in the way of feeding my creative side. When I was five, she took on my request of teaching me how to crochet. I got the basic first step of creating a chain down, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t convince me to turn the work and continue to make my yarn into more than fancy rope that I seemed content to crochet. But nevertheless, I was the happiest little thing just chaining the whole skein of yarn that she gave me. Upon chaining the whole skein of yarn, I rolled it up into a ball and kept it to show people.
I remember being so proud of that ball of chained yarn. Even though she didn’t get very far in teaching me that first day, her lessons stuck in my mind, along with her cheery attitude and happy, gently smile. Now crafting is part of who I am. It helps reduce my stress and organize my thoughts, and best of all, it has increased my creative thinking and even helped with problem solving. It’s something I do to think through problems, it’s something I do when I need to take time for myself, it’s something I turn to when I am happy, sad, confused, creative, and frustrated. When I pick up some yarn and a crochet hook I always think of her and the wonderful lessons she has taught me.
Of course, I can’t forget my Sister and my many female cousins that I grew up with. At one time or another, they were all like sisters to me. We grew up together, played in the summer, the older ones babysat me, but they are all lovely women and I learned a lot from all of them, even if it was just learning how to dodge the younger ones while trying to fit in with the older ones. 🙂
Without these amazing women in my family I would not be who I am today. I am so proud to come from two families of hard-working, strong-minded, insightful, and caring women. They make me strong, and I love them all.