Hey everyone! A happy happy Mother’s day to all the mothers and soon-to-be mothers! I love the days where we can celebrate our parents globally, especially mothers day because through so many stories, we see how motherhood is so emotionally and psychologically invested in — that children are perpetually tethered to the hearts of their mothers. Parenthood is such a sacred calling and it can be beautiful yet arduous, so shout out to all the parents out there, especially for today mothers, who are just out there trying to be the best for their kids. I see you. I salute you.
This year (specifically in October) marks 25 years of Lilia Cadette being a mother. Who is Lilia? Why, she’s my mother! Some of yall say mom and that’s cool but to me, she’s Mammy, and she’s amazing 😁
My mom had me in Ukraine, where she’s from, and is of Bulgarian descent. She is quiet when you first meet her, but soon becomes the life of the party with her witty, dry humor and infectious laugh (which some have said I inherited). She walks to the beat of her own drum and is unashamed in who she is – major goals!
The more I grow into womanhood, the closer I’ve grown with my mom, and the greatest lessons I’ve learned from her were things I’ve observed over the years. Here’s 5 things I’ve learned from my dear mom 😊
The first sign of unconditional love I saw from my mom was the fact that she left her job, her family, her country behind to follow my dad to Dominica. She didn’t know where Dominica was or that it had even existed before, but she loved my dad and wanted to be wherever he was. She expressed to my dad the words of Ruth to Naomi in Ruth 1:16, “Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God.” This spoke to me even as a little girl the depth of love that can occur between two people. Moreover, my mother showed me the depth of love that occurs between a mother and her child. To this day, I can call my mom and tell her things I may be ashamed of or disappointed in of myself, or things that I am ecstatic for, and she is always willing to listen. She listened when I was going through a very rough time with anxiety during my sophomore and junior year of undergrad. She listened when I expressed my elation when I just started dating Francois. She has NEVER been afraid to express her opinion, let me tell you. Have you ever had the driest remarks ever from someone? She is Queen of dry remarks! But, she never fails to remind me, whatever her opinions, that she loves me and that I think is so important in any relationship — expressing how you feel with the intention of love and compassion.
Did you know that besides Russian and English, my mom knows a bit of Spanish and Hebrew? True story. I don’t know how good she is at them now, but just the fact that my mother learnt English on her own by having conversations with my dad, profusely reading, and watching and listening to English media, in order to help teach her child (me) English and get work in Dominica is pretty damn awesome. I think it is also cool to note that a doctor told my mom when she was younger that she may not be able to have kids at all, and God still blessed her with 3 kids. Though she expressed that the pregnancies weren’t easy and she had to have C-sections for us all, anyone who knows my mom knows that she adores her children and she does not regret a thing. We’re her miracle babies, and she’s our miracle mom. In other areas of her life, she has been determined to succeed as well. She was a straight A student in school and she also excelled in a male dominated field (electrical engineering). Through my mother I learnt the value in having more women in the workspace and in positions of authority — there is a delicate yet powerful touch women have to anything they put their minds to, and that I have that phenomenal touch as well. I would be remiss to not apply it diligently as she did.
Creating bonding habits for loved ones
Family time is super important to my mom. Growing up, I remember doing arts activities with my family like painting or collecting sea shells or interesting looking rocks for collections. We would go to the beach religiously every Sunday if it was sunny and we always had to eat meals together. I remember games that we would all play together too, and movies we’d watch while having snacks together. I must admit, sometimes it would be annoying when she would wake me up just so we could have breakfast together, or interrupt me on my computer so we could play cards or monopoly or Blokus (if you guys don’t know what Blokus is, you’re missing out!). However, as an adult, I see the value in it. Especially being far from her, I crave those moments of having game time with my family. Upon recent years, my mother and I had made a tradition of taking a walk on the Boardwalk in Barbados with Magnum ice cream bars, or drinking tea and talking about life. Now that I am in the US and she is still in Barbados, we set up times to video chat with tea to keep up the habit of spending quality time together. Other activities include eating Russian-style pancakes (Blini) with honey (so good!), calling each other on birthdays via Skype and Alex blowing out the candles for us, and going around in a circle toasting with sweet words to the birthday gal or pal. These beautiful moments are what I am definitely going to carry with me when I have children of my own — creating ways of bonding that my kids will remember always.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
My mammy has an interesting sense of humour. When we’re together it’s non-stop laughing and it usually consists of us making fun of ourselves. I would tease my mom on how she may pronounce her words (like the way she says “sink” instead of think, or that she pronounces ball and bowl very similarly), and we’d do impersonations of each other — my mother’s laugh is HILARIOUS. The whole family does this, but my mom is the Queen of laughing at herself. She usually tells me “Don’t take yourself too seriously”, meaning ease up and live. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve made a mistake. If you fall on your butt, get up, laugh and try not to fall again. Life will always throw you curve balls and you may not duck in time. Some of them hurt like hell and should be treated seriously. Others just deserve a roaring laugh and some ice. I suffer from anxiety time to time, and my mom’s mantra of finding the joys in the little things and the funny moments even in chaos truly helps me live with a positive attitude.
Do what makes you happy
My mom loves adventure and appears to be care-free, and in a lot of ways she is. My mom would eat like 2-3 mangoes at a time (depending on the size) if it’s available to her, she would take a picture next to a sign saying no pictures, and she without fail does bunny ears behind my dad’s head every time we video chat together. My mom would ride all the roller coasters in an amusement park if she could while my dad lovingly watches her on the ground (HA!). She loves coffee, loves wine, and loves to dance no matter who’s watching. My mom isn’t afraid of what someone thinks when she is doing something she loves — and she constantly tells me to do the same. If you want to start a business, do it! If you love music, why don’t you pick up an instrument? If you love someone, tell them! According to her mantra, as long as it doesn’t bring harm to anyone, live your life to the fullest. You can’t be afraid of what people may think, because whether you do or don’t, people will always have something to say.
My mom does what makes her happy, but most importantly, she has sacrificed a lot for the people who bring her joy. Thanks Mammy, for all that you’ve done to ensure that Michael, Alex and I are healthy and leading productive lives. You’ve taught me so much that I honestly can’t shrink into one blog post, but I hope that these 5 things I’ve listed give you insight into the amount of gratitude and admiration I have for you.
To my readers, which lesson speaks the most to you? What lessons have you learnt from your mom? I’d love to know!