Saturday, May 8, 2010

I am me because she was her


My mom saved wine corks to make this bulletin board, mind you my mom does drink a lot of wine, still, very thoughtful. The pictures of her and my dad when they were young are my favorite. It is hard to see, but in the top right corner there’s a picture of my mom on her first day of college.  The look on her face indicates the possibilities of the life spread before her, and I find it incredibly telling that she has only a purse and a small suitcase to move into college. She was absolutely stunning, and could really pull off those short 70’s skirts.

There’s a tiny picture of my parents wedding at the top. My mom made her wedding dress, and all of her bridesmaids dresses,  such a resourceful lady.

For her honeymoon, she painted her apartment with my dad. My dad seriously LUCKED out marrying her. Not that my dad is chopped liver or anything, but give my mom a fresh coat of paint and a cute husband and she was as happy as if she had been given a huge diamond and a vacation to France.

It is impossible to accurately describe what an amazing, talented, complicated, intelligent, resourceful, capable, and wonderful mother I have. My attempt will include a few anecdotes, mostly related to furniture, that may provide a small window to my mom’s multilayered  soul. I continue to be interested in and in awe of her talents and depths.

While growing up, I thought my mom was like most moms. She got the milk, bought the shoes, cooked the dinners, drove the car, read the books, and gave the hugs. She sang funny songs with my name in them and I would roll my eyes at her silliness and untouchable cheerfulness, even when I was three.

Over the years, however, it’s been revealed that my mom really is incredible.  During my whole childhood, she worked full time as a middle school English teacher, and always had dinner ready each and every night,and not like some of the “dinners” I create for my self like a carton of cottage cheese, I mean there was always a complete homemade meal with salad and cloth napkin. The laundry was always done, we always had help with our homework, and she never missed my swim meets, choir concerts, softball games, dance recitals  or whatever else I was into at the moment weather I was any good at it or not. (I especially respect her for the dance recitals as I was the most embarrassing dancer in the class, and it could not have been pretty to watch me do ballet)

She also obtained her masters degree when I was 5 and my brother was 10….in her “spare time.”On top of all of that, my dad was out on the road for work three days every week,  making it that much more difficult to be the phenomenal mom she was.

The most amazing thing to me about  her, was that she did this all with a smile on. She truly enjoyed our life. She never complained, she had a great relationship with my dad, and she seemed to even take time for her own hobbies and friends. She provided the perfect balance of parenting and having her own life, she cared about us a lot but she didn’t dote over us constantly. She didn’t obsess over my brother and I; she did not confuse her own being with our identities she let us be who we were, and she too was always a distinct Vicki, not just Andrew and Kelsey’s mother. 


Moving on to the goods and deals. My mom had/has Pottery Barn tastes on a Yard Sale Budget, so she developed a keen eye for finding furniture that she could put work into, and turn to gold.  I may not have said so at the time, in fact, I am sure I did not say so at the time, but I very much prefer her refurbished goods over Pottery  Barn any day!

My mom found this dresser at The Goodwill. I believe she paid 55 dollars, which was a lot. It was covered in 6 coats of teal, red, and black paint but she saw its beauty even through all of the chipped layers of paint.

An important lesson my mom taught me about furniture and people, was to see through the layers of ugly paint. My mom never wrote people off, she didn’t judge people by the layers of ugly paint that life may have laid on them. My mom has always had many types of friends, and gave people a fair chance, she was willing to strip the paint to find the beauty.

She taught me just because something was pretty, in style, and/or new didn’t mean it would last. Just because something/someone looked good,  it didn’t mean there was not cheap particle board underneath or just because something/someone might have needed a bit of work/consideration it/they could be worth it. She taught me to check for the value underneath the facade in furniture and people.


An end table she found and re-did. I thought it was hideous when she first found it, and am so glad she bought it anyway, her wood refinishing on the top is simply divine. I believe she paid 5 dollars.

The furniture my mom’s given me is much like her. It’s traveled with me through college, a move across the country and been through my divorce. The furniture and my mom have been loyal non-judgmental fixtures that have endured my many life changes and stuck by me unfettered.

My mom and her furniture make me feel that no matter where I am, I am home. The furniture she’s given me is elegant, but non pretentious just like my mom. It is hard working and durable. Much of it has withstood decades of day-to-day existence. It has gone through many people and places and has re-invented itself through the years only to come out looking better than ever.


An old middle school chair my mom stripped and painted. It is simple and modern. It cost 3 dollars.


We found this at The Will together when I was in college.  It was 2 dollars, it did not look good before my mom painted it and refinished the wood, it was another thing that at the time I did not want. But mom you were right again :-) It is one of my favorites now. 


This buffet table my mom gave me  is perfect for an entryway or a dining room. It was also not cute when she found it, but it will never leave my house now. Cost 10 dollars.

For Mothers Day I wanted to try to do my mom a bit of justice and show her a bit of understanding. Mom, I love you, and you mean the world to me. Happy Mother’s Day! Mom’s everywhere, here’s to you!

All of the complicated, hardworking, intelligent ladies out there who have raised this generation, and to those who will raise the next. Love and Hugs to you, Great Job, you have the hardest job in the entire world, and you do it with a smile on. You are truly Amazing!


P.S  E-bay post still to come. Some life came up, and I’ve been away from the blog for a bit.

I have returned and am back on track….although I vowed to stop saying things like back on track, I think I am. Talk to you soon.



  1. Very well said, sis. You're turning out to be an exceptional good writer, keep at it!

  2. Aw, Kelsey--this is so lovely. Only met your mum once, but combined with all the stories I've heard about her, she seems like an awesome lady. And I'm glad you've inherited her cheerful, down-to-earth, Goodwill-lovin' nature. :)

  3. Beautiful...enchanting!
    Kelsey, you're a natural at this.
    I could read you all day....