Today would be my mother’s 82nd birthday (she died in 1988). My daughters are 30. A conversation with Nia last week reminded me of how much like my mom I am in certain ways.
I was telling Nia how I’m making big changes in the foods I eat to try to strengthen my immune system. This is on top of cutting out gluten 10 years ago when I learned gluten intolerance is linked to the cancer my mother died of.
As I described breakfast smoothies made from beets, kale and berries, she said, “You’re turning into Grandma Phyllis!”
Exactly my thought. My mom died of lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, just a couple of years older than I am now. Throughout the two years she battled the cancer, she focused mostly on alternative medicine and diet. There wasn’t any proven conventional treatment for her type of lymphoma at the time.
Then Nia went on, “That’s a relief–I thought I was the only one turning into my mother.”
I love that. She’s been telling me for at least 5 years about ways she finds herself turning into me. They’re mostly good ways, which I like to hear about.
I realize I haven’t really told her the ways I find myself being like my mom. Phyllis Brenckman Gruver was an entrepreneur at heart even though she only got to launch one business in her life. It was a kit for kids to decorate pillowcases with crayons and then iron the colors in and the wax out before washing and using them. The kit was called ‘A Case of Happiness.’
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the businesses I’ve started owe something to her example. My mom wasn’t timid about trying new things, even if she didn’t know how to do them. She taught me that I can learn by doing things, and making some mistakes, even with a business. I also inherited the trait of persistence from her, which can be a mixed blessing. I don’t always recognize the right time to let go. But overall it’s a huge advantage in my life.
And now Nia is an entrepreneur who started her own therapeutic massage practice last month. As proud mother of a small-business owner I hope you’ll check out her fledging website and give her healing hands a try next time you’re in San Francisco.
I love seeing how much like my daughters I am, and how much like my mother. And I get great joy from sharing these stories and realizations with them. The big spiral through time that connects us all keeps passing the similarities back and forth.
How are you like your mother, step-mother, daughter, sister?