It is my opinion (and I am almost always right, just ask my husband!) that my mother has come very close to perfecting the art of being fabulous. I don’t just mean on a surface level, although take one look at her luxurious mane of hair or her perfect dress-heels-purse combos and you might think that was more than enough to justify my opinion. No, I am also referring to fabulousness of a profound nature.
To commemorate my mother’s special day, I would like to share with the world 5 lessons in fabulousness, as exemplified by her life.
1. Care about your appearance, and sometimes don’t
My mother is a Latina woman, you can hear them coming by the click-click of their high heels wherever they go. Whether the grocery store or the airport, my mom wears flattering and feminine footwear. Preferably in red, alligator or animal print. Her shoes are one example of how she always puts her best foot forward (pun intended!) when leaving the house, as if making a pact with the world at large: I made an effort to be here, you make an effort to show up.
But don’t think she is always so gussied up or that it somehow defines her. My mother is also queen of comfort and knows that a home should be a place of rest and refuge. When in one’s own space, pyjamas, yoga pants and sweats are the order of the day. When there is cleaning to do or a nap to be taken, feeling cozy is key.
To be fabulous you must take charge of your appearance, not let it take charge of you.
2. Look queens and peasants in the eye
My mother is very gracious, she has the gift of making everyone feel equally important (or unimportant), whatever their social status or official title might be. She mingles comfortably with political figures like ambassadors and military attaches (she is a long time expat in Africa), as she does with people who work as domestic help or are extremely poor. She is not impressed by power. She is impressed only by character and people’s actions. I have seen her act the same way at a fancy dinner party as she does volunteering with nuns in an orphanage.
To be fabulous is to be constant in your treatment of others, it is to treat the queen’s servants with the same respect you would treat the queen.
3. Love your husband passionately
My parents have always had a love-filled marriage. It has not been without its ups and downs of course. But the older they get, the more obnoxiously in love they seem to get. And this is in part due to how extravagantly my mom loves my dad. She talks about him all the time, tells her daughters and everyone around her how handsome, kind, smart and wonderful he is. She takes care of him lavishly, making sure he keeps his health with her delectable healthy cooking. She prays for him, earnestly and often. She makes him her priority.
To be fabulous is to work on your marriage, treasure it and make it more fun and love-filled as the years go by.
There can be no fabulousness without celebration, and there can be no celebration with dancing. A couple of years ago, I skyped my parents for New Years and caught my mom putting on her party dress and make up. I had plans to stay home and have dinner with my boyfriend and another couple, maybe play cards and get to bed soon after midnight. My mom shook her head at me and said, “Even if it’s just the four of you in the living room you HAVE to dance at midnight.” My mom dances with a self-satisfied grin on her face and makes people get up and join her.
To be fabulous you have to let go of inhibitions and enjoy life…by dancing.
5. Move on
My mother has not had an easy life, her story has pain and grief. But her life has also been full of adventure, travel, wonder and love. She is a a fierce survivor, someone who rarely looks back. Her life is a testament to the power of moving on. This does not mean ignoring, repressing or avoiding the past. It has a way of coming up and in those moments I’ve seen her struggle and ultimately deal (with God on her side). But the overarching theme in my mom’s life is – move on. Learn and get on with the next chapter, continue to live.
To be fabulous you must keep moving forward, embracing life fully.
These are 5 lessons in fabulousness I learned from my mother. Some I can only admire in her and aspire to, some have rubbed off a little (thank you genetics!).
Happy Birthday mom, I love you!