This will be a short yet hopefully sweet tribute to my mother.
I would venture to guess that most of the people in my life that have spent a significant amount of time with me, and know my family well, probably think that much of who I am comes from my father. There is no question that I take after my dad, in many facets of my life and of my personality. However there is much more of me that is my mom than you think, and that becomes more and more apparent the older I get.
My mom is a tough gal, and toughness is a virtue that I value very much. She had her first child at age 22, and carried my sister while my dad was away in Vietnam. She went through a miscarriage, which coincidentally is the only reason I am here today. She has put up with my dad for close to 50 years and I can assure you, very much like me, my dad can be a handful! I get strength from both of my parents, certainly, but much of my ability to navigate the ups and downs of life come from my mom. When you fall down, you pick your ass up off the ground and move forward. Don't cry about it, don't sit there soaking in your own self pity. You find a solution and you don't look back. That is the mentality she taught me.
My mom was in sales. She was an executive for Arhaus furniture for 25 years. One of the most well known and well respected furniture companies in Ohio. She worked full time, quite successfully, while also raising three children and maintaining a more than comfortable home for her family. I am in sales, and have used that ability to drive my career to where I am today. Not a coincidence, I am sure. There is no question that a lot my success can be pointed directly to the skills I inherited from my mom.
Next to my Grandmother Bowler, my mom is the most unbelievable cook I have ever been around. She makes even the simplest of dinners taste like a five-star meal. My prowess in the kitchen is not even in the same category as Jean, but my passion for food and cooking certainly have been derived from watching both her and my grandma cook for so many years. I can't wait to be able to make dinners for my family like my mom always has for all of us.
In that same category most of you know that I am very passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and sports certainly are characteristics that were encourgaed every single day in my house, especially by my dad. But without question I learned how to eat healthy from my mom, and I am extremely thankful for that gift. I was the kid with lunch envy every day at school because my lunches didn't have fruit roll-ups, gushers or doritos. I had apples, carrots, a sandwich and maybe some pretzels. We always had at least two vegetables at family dinner and there was never an abundance of junk food in the house. Just ask my friends that would sleep over in high school. I learned very early on the value of eating the right way and how impactful this can be on your life. This is a trait I try to pass on to people in my life now, and will certainly do so for my family in the future.
Women. I can't sit here and tell you that I have always treated everyone in my life with the respect they deserve. I've made some mistakes in that category without question. However, my mom has always been adament about the way she expected her son to treat the women in his life. My mother, grandmother, sister, girlfriend, wife....those people were to always take precedence over anything else happening in my world. Treat them like queens she would say. Treat them as if they are the most important people on the entire planet. I am very thankful for the women that surround me, and very excited to make the woman who gives birth to my children a life more amazing than she can possibly imagine. A lifetime will not be enough time to repay a woman for the amazing gift of giving birth to a child. That is what my mom taught me about women.
So much more of me comes from my mom than I think I even realized until the last few years. She is an amazing woman, an amazing human being. So on this Mother's Day, 2013, I simply want to thank my mom for imparting in me so many of the good things that make me who I am.
Happy Mother's Day Jean Bowler, and to all the other amazing women in my life who have the gift of motherhood. Love you all.