I didn’t used to be very much like my mother. We could look at a rack of clothing and the things I didn’t like, she did, and the things I liked, she didn’t. She prefers bright colors and patterns and my favorite color is grey. She verbally works things out and I work everything out before a word leaves my mouth out.
It wasn’t until I was in line at Culver’s emphasizing to the cashier that my milkshake had to be made with chocolate ice cream and milk instead of the usual vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup—something my mom regularly does–that I realized what I had in common with her. I started preferring my kitchen appliances be bright colors and I have a thing for argyle. And believe it or not, over the last couple of years we’ve walked through stores and I’ve said “Oo, I like that!” and she has agreed with me.
The one thing that I picked up from her is her resourcefulness. For the last ten years my mom has been a resource for home schoolers. Whether it was people calling her from Alaska about the education temperature in Michigan, her lending from her extensive curriculum collection, to parents in our area calling about how to better communicate with their kids of various personalities, she was the one to call. The moment a problem is brought to her attention her mind moves into problem-solving mode and she’ll immediately suggest solutions providing different levels of complexity. To this day, if there’s a situation I don’t know what to do about or if I have a surmounting question I can’t get over, I know she’s the one to call.
This ability really surfaced in my life around my wedding. I had a tiny budget and a big party to plan. All through my wedding planning I found ways to decrease prices while still maintaining a beautiful day that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Boutonnieres too expensive? No problem, I’ll buy decorative feathers on Etsy and use those instead. Evil David’s doesn’t have any dresses that are yelling my name for bridesmaids? Easy, I’ll just shop at Group USA and find gorgeous dresses for a little over $100. Getting overwhelmed with trying to choose what weird, stiff wedding shoes would plague my feet? Not to worry, there are silky, stretchy, beautiful shoes that matched my dress for only $20 at Payless. Are the churches either too expensive, not pretty enough, or unavailable? It’s cool, I found an adorable maritime museum that had a ceremony room with giant floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Detroit River for a perfect price.
Because of my mother, I’ve never been afraid to step outside the box and seek alternatives that can solve my problems just as well as the conventional items can. Sometimes the problems get worse because they are confined within the lines. If you can reframe the issue there is often a solution that is easier and will address your problem better; you just have to allow yourself to see it.
I am so grateful for my mom because by exercising her resourcefulness in her own life, she gave me the tools I needed to navigate and solve problems in my own life with creativity and power. Even if I only get a slice of the resourcefulness and creativity she has, I think I’ll do alright.