Attributes of Mothers
Mothers are everything to us. This year, and every year, we are influenced by our own mothers, the mothering women in our lives, and the attributes that we treasure about them. It is hard to define what makes a mother so inherently good. Personally, I appreciate different things about my mother at different times in my life. It's sort of like looking in a mirror, but of things only seen in hindsight. I see the personal strength of my mother’s choices and actions over the years, as I now face similar challenges. As a result, I admire and crave her wisdom even more, as she continues to mother me in every phase of life, albeit differently than when I was four years old.
This year, we have created four mini collections that exemplify different attributes of motherhood: Bravery, Kindness, Constancy, and Refinement. Each of these mini collections contains thoughtful gifts for our mother's attributes that we admire and wish to cultivate and emulate.
Bravery is conquering new wildernesses in life and facing fears. Some of those may be close to home, like not getting squeamish at the bugs that little boys bring home. If you have seen your mother face her fears of creeping things, perhaps she would like a wunderkammern insect to commemorate the accomplishment.
Facing some fears may take you far from your realm of comfort, physically and mentally. Bravery means being open to new adventures and doing so with confidence. My mother was brave when she got back on a horse that threw her off. My mother was brave when she took four young boys to Europe for a month (before the age of GoogleMaps and mobile phones) and gave them an experience of a lifetime. She was brave two months ago when she moved to Peru with my father, where she doesn’t speak the language. We love these film travel photos (taken by our own Carolyn Carter) as a way to be reminded of some of life’s grand adventures.
Several years ago, when I read Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain (read more about this life-changing book here), I was reminded of my mother. My mother is brave because, like Joan of Arc, she stands up for causes that matter to her, as I have seen her do in countless ways over the years. So if your mother is a crusader for good causes, perhaps she would enjoy this book or art print. I am grateful for a mother who is brave.
I’ve always admired how my mother exuded careful kindness to all things. I loved watching her tend her garden, clipping roses early in the morning and digging out weeds. Fresh flowers adorned the table and plants on the kitchen windowsill, she watered them regularly. I think she would have appreciated this little brass mister to water the indoor flowers and to use in her garden. Flowers, were a way that my mother cared and showed kindness, but she usually didn’t keep all the flowers for herself either, but flowers are what embodied my mother’s inherent kindness.
In the drawer of her nightstand, my mother always kept a stash of beautiful cards so that she could write a note for a friend that she was thinking about (these are some of our favorite letterpress cards). Often she would send me to deliver the notes along with a vase of her freshly cut flowers. When she wraps a gift even now she likes to tuck some fresh flower or green into the ribbon. Tending her plants, writing notes, and thoughtfully wrapped gifts are just a few ways I saw kindness in everyday actions. I am grateful for a mother who is kind.
Mother’s have this sort of ineffable sense of comfort and constancy about them. Most days after school I would find myself sitting in the kitchen or laundry room talking to my mother as she completed the many tasks of motherhood. She was just always there when I needed her the most. She was there when I was sick or scared, tucking me into blankets and easing discomfort. She was there through heartbreaks with consoling chocolate. She is a phone call away on good days and bad days.
I love the idea of spoiling my mother, in the ways that she was always there me. For all the years of constancy, we have a collection of ways to treat our mothers for the constancy and care she has always shown. She deserves artisan chocolate from Scotland and a cozy wool blanket to curl up in. Perhaps a deliciously scented candle or a teapot, for cozy afternoons. A new book or a set of these petrified wood bookends, might be just the thing. Most of all, if your mother is anything like mine, she would like to enjoy these things with you, as spending time together is the essential part of constancy. I am grateful for a mother who is constant.
Another characteristic I have always admired about my mother is that she has never stopped learning. She has always been eager to improve herself: learning new skills, reading good books, and appreciating beauty in all things. For my own mother, I know that at times such beauty and refinement of character has been hard won. This process of refinement gives her an air of elegance that comes from an inner desire to be truly good and also better each day.
So for a woman of refined character, we have selected a few items that she might find delight in. Pearls are grains of sand, refined over time, and we have a couple of pearl jewelry pieces in this collection. Perhaps your mother wants to try her hand at something French with a new cookbook and some of our beautiful cut glass dishware. If she is a book lover, she might enjoy having a print of one of her favorite books. Or maybe just a new book. Choose something that will feed her soul and bring the joy of learning and beauty once more to the forefront. I am grateful for a mother who is refined.
Harriet Beecher Stowe once wrote: “Mother’s are instinctive philosophers” and I find that extraordinarily accurate. There is wisdom in a mother’s words that comes only through years of experience. For our mother’s who love and teach us so much, we eagerly share these tokens of gratitude and affection.