What have you learned from your mother?

In honor of Mother’s day this upcoming Sunday, my brother, sister and I wanted to share things that we have learned from our mother. My mom reads all the posts on this blog so I hope this one finds a special place in her heart. I’d love to read in the comments what you have learned from your mother!


In response to the question, what have you learned from your mother?

Nicole, mom, me
mom and Nicole

“My mom is a superstar! I have learned so much from her, but three things really stick out:

Celebrate Today – Since the birth of her infamous “Wild & Wacky Wednesdays,” my mom has lived according to the philosophy that every day is a day to celebrate. I remember many times growing up when she would take my friends and me to Panera after school, or we would go out to eat on a Monday night “just because.” (Caitlin’s note: remember the ‘mental health days’ when we got to stay home ‘sick’ from school!) Within this practice was a very important lesson; there is only so much that can be wrong when you are at Cozumel (Ohio Mexican restaurant) eating delicious fajitas. Thus, my mom has taught me that by keeping perspective, we can choose to be happy every single day.

Change is painful – Shortly after my junior year of high school ended, I was going to a lot of graduation parties. Among the really yummy cake and fun times with friends, I got really sad at one of them and couldn’t figure out why. I looked around and saw all of these people just one year older than me, about to leave for college. I saw how much their lives were about to change, and I had the unsettling realization that, pretty soon, mine would be changing, too. When I got home, I cried. I didn’t even know why, but my mom did. “Change is painful,” she told me, “no matter what kind.”

Show love to everyone – My mom is a social butterfly. From her job, involvements, and social scene, she knows just about everyone in our community. She doesn’t just know them, she loves them. Everywhere we go, she offers friendly hellos, asks the person not some generic question, but something uniquely related to them, and gives her own genuine response. She sincerely cares about people and wants them to know that they are valued. By doing so, she has shown me what community is, and how to strengthen it.” -Nicole

Mom, Alex (baby bump), me, dad on our way to the hospital for Alex’s birth

mom and Alex

“She has taught me the importance of education, kindness and loyalty.  That education is the foundation to a successful life.  That kindness to others is a perpetual gift.  And that loyalty means not only being faithful to your friends, family and significant others, but to yourself; to your own goals, hopes and dreams.” – Alex

Me and mom

me and mom

There are a number of unique things that I have learned from my mother. One is a statement that I mentioned many times on this blog, which is “to celebrate every year of your life.” I think what my mom really taught me through that statement, and many of her other actions and words, is that each person has a unique journey and story in their life, and his/her  job is to go live it.  Mom – thank you for being an endless source of support as I continue to pursue my dreams and passions!

Ps. Thank you for also teaching us that even the worst fashion faux pas’ can be overcome. ;)

The fam


Repost: “When I Knew I was a Grown Up”

This week, at MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop, one of the prompts is: A moment you realized you were a grown up.  I immediately thought of this post that I wrote more than a year ago for a small link-up that I hosted.  I’d love to hear in the comments about the moment that you realized you were a grown up, too!

Originally posted: February 13, 2014, slightly edited


The alarm buzzes at 8:32AM sharp.  “Sh*t,” I manage to mumble as my eyes open, and refocus to the light shining through my bedroom window.  My right leg, notably missing a sock, swings out from under the comforter and gently grazes the carpeted floor.

Or, what should be the floor.

Instead, my foot swiftly kicks the wooden banister of my trundle-bed before slamming into a red, warm, gooey pile of leftover jello shots from the night before.


Despite my verbal antics, I’m careful not to wake my slumbering roommate as I separate the crooked blinds and peek down to the Pittsburgh road five stories below.  A light dusting of snow covers the pot-holed, fraternity-lined street.

My second alarm rings reminding me of class in 20 minutes…

“Yeah, this isn’t going to happen,” I think as I face-plant back into bed.


The alarm buzzes at 3:45AM as I jolt awake and jump off the queen-sized mattress.  I stumble my way to the bathroom and quickly flick on the light.  “Sh*t,” I manage to mumble as I realize my eye de-puffing cream has done nothing to improve the bags under my eyes.  I quickly rinse off in the shower and throw on my new suit before attempting to fix the blue and green circles under my bloodshot ocular.  What’s a girl to do without foundation and powder?

My phone buzzes next to me indicating that a cab is on its way.  “Crap,” I think; only six more hours until our presentation to the client, which includes a one and a half hour flight and a 2-hour drive through the back roads of South Carolina.  I check my phone as I grab my suitcase and laptop bag, and stumble down the poorly lit steps.

An email from M. around midnight (why is he emailing at that hour, let alone awake??) awaits my response.  Did I print ten copies of the presentation?

“Hmm…,” I ponder as I hail down the cab, which already drove yards past my house.


My Pitt shirt reeks of stale beer and barbecue sauce (?) when I stumble into the kitchen later that afternoon.  A note from my roommate indicates that she would like the kitchen cleaned… and soon.  I push the post-it off to the side as I pour myself a glass of orange juice.  Don Perignon for a college student; that stuff is like liquid gold, given how expensive it is for a girl who can’t even afford her rent.

I flip through the pages of my accounting and marketing books, while Sex and the City plays in the background.  Numbers mix with advertisements, which mix with accounting tables and marketing budgets.  It’s like Mad Men meets Turbo Tax.  It takes all of 15 minutes before I realize that I just don’t care.  We spend the majority of our college careers trying to plan for our future, but who’s to say that future is actually going to happen?


Wheels touch down in Washington D.C. a quarter after 7pm.  I think about the week before.  Just four short days ago, I remember running around the client site printing the ten copies of the client presentation in frantic haste.  My job is not perfect, nor a true, deep passion of mine, but I care for it and keeping it safe.

I text my family members to let them know I successfully survived another flight.  As the taxi pulls into the driveway of the house with my loving friends and dog inside, I’m consumed with the feelings of caring about them too.

A pineapple in a bar is grown up.. Right??!

I think the moment that I first discovered that I was a ‘grown-up’ was the moment I realized that I truly, deeply care for the things in my life – my job, my people, my health, everything.  It feels weird to write this because it’s not that I didn’t care before, but I feel like I was so lost in the bubble of what the heck am I doing with my life? that it was hard to concentrate on other things and people around me.

Now that I’m on my own and accountable for my own things (mortgage, dog, food, happiness), I feel more responsibility for choosing the things that I care about and putting effort into that care.  In college, these thoughts are just a little fairy tale, but, once in the income-making world… they get real.

**Linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop