This morning, I woke up thinking about my mother. She passed away 20 years ago but I feel closer to her today than I did the day she died. I think about her often but in the last few days she’s weighed heavily on my mind. I think it is because my mom’s last sibling Darlene passed away last week. My mom had five siblings and Aunt Darlene was the sister closest to her age. She was my favorite aunt and my most fun and colorful one. Aunt Darlene spoke her mind (all of the time) and lived according to her rules (people just had to deal with her on her level, handbag, hand gun and all). The realization that the Langston generation was now all gone struck an emotion of deep loss. Aunt Darlene’s passing brought back many of the emotions of my mother’s passing and to say the least, it has been a rough couple days.
This morning, however, when I woke up thinking about my mother, the feeling of loss was different. It wasn’t sad and pensive; it was more reflective. I woke up thinking about all the special gifts my mom left us (I have four sibling living and one deceased). Let me take a few moments to tell you about my mom and then you will see that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree! Especially a tree that is abundant in rich, red, juicy apples.
My mom, Ada was a woman ahead of her times and station in life. She was born in rural Arkansas and actually lost her mother shortly after her birth. She was raised by her father and aunt/mom (my mom’s aunt married her father and they merged the families). So, her cousins became her stepbrother and sisters and she sort of got lost in the crowd.
Because she had older sisters, she left home at the early age of 15 to go and live with them in California. That’s when the journey of an incredible woman began.
At 17, my mom met my dad (he was 17 years older than her and a successful business owner). They married and she immediately began having children. My mom wasn’t the traditional mom or housewife for her times. She loved styling hair and decided to get a cosmetology license while raising the first of the three of us. She had a hair salon not far from where we lived and there she catered to many of the women living in our small city. She didn’t have to work since my dad earned a good living, but she had that entrepreneurial spirit from the beginning.
Eventually she gave up the salon and concentrated on raising her six children and dabbling in and out of entrepreneurial ventures. Over her lifetime (which was cut too short by the horrors of pancreatic cancer) my mom started and successfully launched several careers. Many of them started after she turned 50. She successfully completed a real estate license and began listing and selling houses in our home town, she successfully completed an insurance license and began selling life insurance, she was a caterer, had her own pie business, was a seamstress and sewed for a living at one time, was a singer and wrote her own songs and performed them in concerts all over California and Arizona. Her singing career included a Prison ministry which took her behind the cell doors of San Quentin and other maximum security prisons to perform for the inmates and introduce them to Christ.
My husband and I used to joke that if we ever needed a business partner, it would be my mother because she did not accept the life she was given, she created a lifestyle filled with realized dreams and aspirations. To say my mom got things done is an understatement. She had taste befitting someone of greater financial means than she had and found a way to surround herself with possessions she loved and wanted. She drove a Lincoln Town car when she should have been driving the cheapest Chevy…She filled our house with furniture from the most expensive store in town…She wore designer clothes and shoes and designed and sewed the most elaborate gowns and dresses for occasions such as weddings and her concerts…She put the "E" in elegant and the "G" in grace.
My mom epitomized living your dreams and creating a lifestyle befitting your dreams. So, when I find myself up at midnight creating trainings and other products to help women over 50 achieve a lifestyle that meets their dreams and desires, I know where that comes from, Ada, my mom.
She taught all of us to reach high and not accept failure or defeat as the end result. Because of her influence, my dream of being a writer, my dream of marrying an amazing man and having children who would set the world on fire with their creative gifts, my desire to work for myself and NEVER let anyone control my professional destiny, my dream of the 50Something site and community, and finally my life-long quest to walk with a Savior who sustains and keeps me have been realized.
Ada Mae Haynes you were the tree and me (Cheryl), Naaman, Geri, Tony, Kathy and Madge did not fall far from your branches. We are just grateful that when God was delivering babies to you that we were the ones he delivered..
I'm saddened by all the loss but so much richer for the legacy!
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