Lessons from Mom

Lessons from Mom

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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! 

Mammy and her three kids ❤

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 😊

Unconditional love

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.

One of my favourite pictures of my mother and me. Peep our matching watches

Determination 

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.

Working the wires

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.

Us celebrating baby brother, Alex’s birthday while both my brother, Michael and I are in the U.S.

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.

Exhibit A of finding the funny anytime

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.

Goals!

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!

Quarantine Connection

Quarantine Connection

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Welcome back guys!

I am hoping that wherever you are, you are fairing through this pandemic as best as you can. 

The chaos surrounding COVID-19 has everyone struggling to find new ways to cope. Alcohol sales have spiked, the social media apps are seeing an influx of active users through Instagram live sessions and TikTok, streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ among others are being flooded to pass the time, and Zoom is dominating the conference call streets. Meanwhile, there are students of all ages, either crying to go back to school to be with friends or have a sense of normalcy, while others are away from home, longing to go back to be with family. Parents are struggling to home school, while others are struggling to find help while juggling jobs of essential care. Some people are dreading working from home, others are dreading working in exposed environments, and others are lamenting the fact that they no longer have a source of income. 

There are so many things that make this time a very uncertain, anxiety filled time, but there is one theme that has become even more important as we are trekking through this thing: Connection. We were created to connect. Furthermore, because of technology and social media, we are even more connected than we once were a decade or two ago. And because of COVID-19, we have been searching for all the ways we can connect to stay sane, really. 

Here are 4 things we should be connected to during this time. Continue reading to find out!

We should connect to…

Ourselves — With the uncertainty and the bombardment of mixed messages about this virus, we have to be grounded. If you are anxious and feel like you are going crazy, I am here to assure you that this is totally normal. I started freaking out when things started shutting down all over, especially knowing that my husband still had to go to work since he is an essential worker. But what helps is finding things that ground you. This is the time to incorporate some self care. This may be as simple as creating a new, soothing skin care routine or a bubble bath, or more complex like seeking professional help. BOTH are very important and even necessary. Invest in yourself. Your body [and mind] is a temple — you have to take care of it, and it can become difficult when your mind is racing and your anxiety levels are creeping up, but I promise you, scheduling some time to take care of yourself will help that. While you invest in yourself, disconnect from avoidable activities that amp up your anxiety or fears, such as negative self talk or comparing yourself to others on social media. Pro tip: teletherapy is very big right now — Talkspace and Better Help are good places to start.

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

“Invest in yourself”

Fulfilling relationships — I know, I know… one of you is probably thinking, “I do not like people.” And my response to that is, okay lol but you do though. No matter if you’re an extrovert who gets energized by being around fifty-leven people, or you are an introvert who loves your select few for a certain amount of time, we all have relationships that fulfill us. Those relationships where you can be totally yourself, you enjoy yourself, you feel SAFE, and you are at peace even when the whole world is crashing down (which it lowkey feels like it is). Invest in those kinds of relationships. For me personally, I ADORE the people in my life, the real few I keep close to me. I love cuddling up to my husband while watching a movie, I love talking to my family (like my mom – Hi Mammy!), and sending voice notes to my friends. The truth is, we are all affected by this, one way or another, and this is the time to really take stock of the beautiful people in our lives. And you are beautiful to someone too! So, connect connect connect. And if you’re like me that hates video calls, just find another way to connect. Let the people you love know you love them, and be more intentional. Moreover, reconciliation may be needed in relationships with parents, children, friends, etc. If you recognize reconciliation as possible, please exercise compassion, patience, and transparency. Listen to each other and rely on the love you have for one another.

Fulfilling activities — This differs from person to person, but there are activities that either during or after you’ve done them, you feel at peace or better yet, you feel whole. These activities promote who you are and fill you up, and this is important now when the crisis around us feels draining. What activities make you feel great inside? Writing has been a great activity for me and it also plays a part in connecting to myself, which was mentioned above. If you don’t really have an activity that brings you the joy you crave, I would suggest trying new things! Try painting, practicing makeup, reading, doing at-home workouts, cooking a new dish, etc. This connects back to investing in yourself — explore who you are and love yourself through this journey of figuring out what you like and dislike. It is not only a fun process, but it also redirects your focus from the chaos on the outside to what’s on the inside. 

“And you are beautiful to someone too!”

*Sidenote!* Please do not mix this point up with other advice urging you to use this time to start a new business, draft a grant proposal, plant a garden, or get rock-hard abs. While these are amazing activities, do not do them to try to make yourself “more productive”. This is a quarantine, not a down-time in between careers or a vacation. Do them or try them because you are curious about them or because they bring you fulfillment, not because you are meeting society’s standard of what you should be doing.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

God –We all have a source: something we believe in and connect our very existence to. I am a Christian and I love Jesus (*cue J Moss – Sweet Jesus*), so God is my source. During this heartbreaking time, I think it is crucial to take a moment and connect with God. I entered 2020 really confused as to what the heck is happening, and at the end of the day, only God truly knows what’s going on and why things are going the way they are. Connecting to Him means I have a chance to pour out all my anxieties, all my fears, all my insecurities, all my disappointments with no form of judgment, and all forms of compassion and grace. Use this time to explore Scripture, learn a new verse, change the way you pray, incorporate prayer meditation into your worship, or revisit why you became a believer in the first place. Again, this goes back to investing in yourself, because it is God that remains constant while the whole world is spinning, and reconnecting with Him is a sure way to invite peace into your life and home in a way that passes understanding.

I hope these connection reminders were helpful for you guys, and remember: Don’t beat up yourself — we’re all trying here. I am trying to come out of this quarantine as best as I can considering the circumstances. Try to aim for that and I bet you’ll be okay too. And last reminder, if you need help connecting to any of these things, there are professionals who are willing to connect with you.

Speaking of connection. Connect with me! Comment below some of your fave activities or the people in your life who fulfill you. I’m curious 🙂

Love, Delz