There were times in my teens and even early twenties when the title of this post would’ve seemed like the worst thing ever. As I grow older I realize how hard my mom worked to raise us kids and how much of herself she poured into us. Things that flew over my head, decisions I couldn’t understand, I get now. Growing up has given me so much perspective on my mom, and it’s given me so much more appreciation. Living away from my family and my homeland has made me so much more aware of their role in my life, and mine in theirs.
I’ve said so many times, I wouldn’t be Afrobella if my mom wasn’t Mama Bella. She has shaped my identity in the ways that I am like her, as well as the ways I am not. There are so many things I’ve inherited from her. Here are just 5 of them, for better or for worse. I am Peggy’s daughter!
1 – Because of my mom, I love makeup and perfume and nail polish and getting massages and facials. She got me into that life early. I believe I went to my first fashion show with her when I was seven – at that show I was able to answer a trivia question about perfume, and it all led to a lifelong obsession with beauty products and the women who buy them. In my teenage years I started getting regular facials to address my acne issues, and that was my indoctrination into spa culture. My mom always wanted the best for us, and for herself. Even when times were lean, she valued the finer things and I’ve absorbed that.
2 – I can be a bit of a shopaholic. This is something I talk to my mom about all the time, so don’t think I’m telling her secrets! We’re both the kind of woman who wants to own the same top or dress or pair of shoes in different colors. We’ve got a “more is more” mentality. We have a hard time parting with things we love and totally intend to wear again. Sometimes I look at my closet and just know where I got it all from.
3 – I tend to absorb the energy of those around me. I have had to learn to shield myself from toxic personalities and energy drainers. My mom has a tendency of absorbing other people’s stress and allowing that to raise her blood pressure. Even while I’ll be talking to her about why she needs to not do that, I’m likely to have the same kind of issue. There comes a point where self-preservation is paramount.
4 – I worry too much about what other people think. See above.
5 – Despite that, I am strong in who I am, and comfortable in my skin. That’s something I learned from my mom, and from life experience. Peggy Grell is who she is. She has strong opinions about the music she likes, the drinks she enjoys, history, culture, and society. She is an intellectually curious woman who believes in looking things up in the dictionary or encyclopedia if she doesn’t know what they are – that’s something she instilled in me that I am so eternally thankful for. Today we live in a time when it seems people would rather ask a question into the ether of Twitter than take a moment to Google the answer and learn something new. My mom’s making me look stuff up for her (and for myself) seemed really annoying and uncool back then but has done so much for me today. I can really, truly attribute my love of reading and skill in writing to my mom and my sister Petal, whose all consuming love of books made them an essential a part of my life.
I wasn’t home with my mom for Mother’s Day, but I did talk to her on the phone and send flowers – two of her favorite picks for Mother’s Day presents so win!
I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend. It can be such a beautiful time for so many, and for others it can be such a painful reminder of loss. I hope the weekend was enjoyable and full of love and great memories nevertheless.