Motherly Love

Last fall, my sweet Mum sent me a greeting card to keep me pumped during the campaign. The front had a little animated character with a bubble saying “Three of my favorite words?”, and then when you opened it up, the card finished, “That’s my daughter.” Mum’s handwritten note underneath says, “It just fit how I feel about you.” I keep on my desk in my office because it always give me a little boost of joy in the morning. So today, what are three of my favorite words?….That’s my Mama!!

Me and my cute Mumsy

Meg and Mum, enjoying a sunny day in the backyard in Kansas City, Summer 2012.

My beautiful Grandmom, Kay Mesle. I have no idea what year this picture was taken, but I would guess sometime in the 1940s.

My beautiful Grandmom, Kay Mesle. I have no idea what year this picture was taken, but I would guess sometime in the 1940s.

Nothing can compare to a mother’s love. I feel it from Mum. I still feel it from Grandmom. It’s calming, reassuring, and encouraging. I am fortunate to have a number of “moms” in my life. As we would say in the Mesle family, “it takes a village,” and I certainly am grateful to have such wonderful people in my life supporting me along the way.

In addition to my amazing family in Kansas City, I am lucky to have my fabulous Auntie here in California. As the “redheaded McCollister women” (as Tio likes to call us), we make sure to enjoy living in California to the fullest and explore every nook and cranny we can find.

Meg and Auntie spending a day in San Francisco, April 2013.

Meg and Auntie spending a day in San Francisco, April 2013.

So today, say Thank You to your Mom, your Grandmom, your Auntie, your Bobbie Lou, your Nancy Lee (all of my amazing “moms”). Say Thank You to the women who support you and cheer you on. They are amazing women, and deserve a little extra love on this beautiful day.

Happy Mother’s Day to my sweet Mum, and to all the Mothers out there!

Happy Mother’s Day–to the Village

We all know the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child”.  Each of us benefits from such a village. I want to thank the village of people who have shared in raising Meg.

Meg’s village, necessarily, starts with my mom.  Until her death two years ago, she was the matriarch of our family.  She loved each of her children and her grandchildren unconditionally.  She was always there for us.  We did not want to disappoint her because she never disappointed us.  She made sure each of us felt special.  She was a wonderful mother, wife, friend, cook, gardener and listener.  Meg knew how much grams loved her.  She was beautiful in every way.

Our family has included an abundance of cheerleaders for Meg and her cousins.  We get together whenever we can even though we are spread throughout the country.  Here we celebrated with dad as he received his most recent community award last year in Independence.

As a family we have worked hard to provide each other personal and moral support.  We treasure our successes and provide each other solace during difficult times as we strive to grow individually and together.

Terry has been a rock star, guiding her and supporting her with his quiet wisdom and no-nonsense practicality.  He has listened to her, comforted her and helped her to grow with a combination of youthful idealism and an understanding of economic and financial realities.

Meg’s strong ties to both her father’s family and mine have enabled her to stretch her comfort level. With encouragement from others, she has ridden a motorcycle, danced at a ball, studied and traveled abroad, supervised a pro bono tax clinic, worn a sari, attended Passover and climbed a mountain at Jackson Hole.

In so many ways, our lives are enriched by friends as well as family.  There have been truly wonderful people who have shared their lives with Meg and nurtured her as she has grown to adulthood.

Close friends have also been like family to her and have enriched her life and mine.  Whether Meg needed a “sister”, a second “mother” or just a wise friend, there has always been someone there for her.

She has spent birthdays, holidays, and lots of ordinary days in the company of extraordinary people.  She has shopped for shoes, indulged in tuna melts, shared dinners, walked in 4th of July neighborhood parades, spent weekends in Branson and learned how to dream with these friends.

The terms wisdom, love of life, love of beauty, concern for humanity are terms that fit each member of this wonderful village.  It is never possible to truly isolate the gifts of knowledge and understanding she has gained from individual relationships.  But as she has matured, Meg has had role models and mentors who were there for her when she needed them.

As much as her family shared with her our own values, she was truly enriched by the opportunity to observe, and share in the family lives of friends and family who broadened and deepened her understanding of the many ways to live life, to mature as a true friend, to be a person of integrity and to live her life with grace.

Her most significant mentors have also helped her to develop her own strength and to gain a vision for the person she has become.

As I write this, I realize the futility of trying to include photographs of, or give individual thanks to, every individual who has been truly special in our lives. (Besides, the fact I don’t have photographs of some of these wonderful people is a mistake I will quickly rectify.)  But each of you know my gratitude to you.  For all of you who have been a part of her life, and mine, I want to thank you for being part of our village.  

Happy mother’s day.