All moms are amazing, and we asked Club Goodwill REwards members to brag about theirs! Below are the 2016 winning entries. The winner received a $100 gift card from Massage Envy, a $50 gift card from Goodwill, and a beautiful statement necklace. Each of the Honorable Mentions received a $25 Goodwill gift card.
We hope you enjoy these heart-felt essays. Thank you to all who entered, and we appreciate your continued support of Goodwill's mission.
Happy Mother's Day!
WINNING ENTRY - Lisa T.
Lessons from my Mother
The thing that makes my mother amazing is her persistence in asking “why not?” rather than “why?” For instance: Why not make mud pies rather than butter cream? Why not “burnt sienna” instead of “antique white” in the foyer? Why not sew your own prom dress (or find one at the thrift store) rather than spend $100? Because of her, I learned to be a creative thinker.
Instead of planting my sister and me in front of the TV, my mom would hand us a paring knife and a bar of Ivory soap (supervised of course) and encourage us to sculpt something beautiful. Not only did I learn how to handle a sharp kitchen utensil, but I have a lovely faux-ivory carved polar bear. Because of her, I learned ingenuity.
Another thing about my mom is her thriftiness. Long before the “green” movement, my mom washed and reused her sandwich bags and found creative uses for empty coffee cans. One Halloween my sister and I sported costumes consisting of a square cardboard boxes painted white and accented with large black dots; we were a pair of dice. Mom could make Christmas wreaths out of macaroni, and tabletop "turkeys" out of apples, gumdrops and a handful of toothpicks. Because of her, I learned resourcefulness.
Even though she didn’t fancy herself a public speaker, my mom presided over our school’s PTA. She also led our scout troop on some unforgettable expeditions. A generation later, I would do the same. Because of her, I discovered the joy of volunteering, developed a "girls-can-do-anything" attitude ... and I also learned confidence.
I clearly remember my mother making up a package of Christmas gifts to donate to the poor. We could have wrapped up our old clothing and toys, and the needy family would probably have been just as grateful, but instead, she assembled homemade treasures for us and gave the department-store items to our adopted family. I was only 8 or 9 at the time, but I still have that sock monkey .... and I learned compassion.
My mom will be 85 this August. Even though she has fallen a few times and broken a couple of bones, she still lives in her own home, travels as frequently as she can, attends church services weekly, and participates in a number of volunteer organizations. Some might call it stubbornness; I like to call it determination.
Because of my amazing mom, the world is a better place.
Honorable Mention - Deanne M.
My Mother taught me that beautiful things don’t have to cost a great deal of money. When I was growing up my Mother used to pour over fashion magazines at our local library so she would know what was in fashion. She would then go out to thrift stores and junk shops to execute her style. She seemed to always have a knack to find the single best item at the thrift sale.
My Mother can look polished in a plain navy blue sweater, a pair of khakis and some perfectly applied ruby red lipstick. She has always kept her dark hair short and sassy like Audrey Hepburn.
In my teens when my friend’s would be slightly embarrassed by their mothers, I recall seeing my own Mom in the audience of a play or in the stands of a track meet and feeling a sense of pride knowing that she was there in my corner quietly rejoicing in my accomplishments.
My Mother has a sophisticated home. It is not large, not expensive but calm and cozy and although most of the design items in her home come from thrift stores and tag sales, she has a distinct talent for arranging furniture and accessories in a way that makes her home look every bit as graceful as the homes in the pages of House Beautiful.
At 81, my Mother continues to mentor me on clothes fashion and home design. She recently enlightened me on a new way to arrange flowers in unlikely vases. My own home reflects the graciousness that my stylish Mother exemplifies.
My Mother has the timeless ability to set a small wooden bird on a robin’s egg blue colored book on a tiny shelf, then step back with a knowing smile that says “I’m satisfied with the loveliness of the simplest of things.
Honorable Mention - Coleen M.
I was born when my mom was 17 years old. Life wasn’t easy for a high schooler with a newborn, but we lived with my grandparents, and Grandma was always there the help out. My mom was very creative and once we got our own place, she made me blankets and toys as well as painted rocks (it was the 70’s, afterall)! We didn’t have much money, but we were resourceful. Eventually Mom got married, but things were rocky and she coped by drinking. When I was 13 she entered rehab for alcoholism. I called Grandma every night and cried. Together we prayed for Mom to recover, but after struggling with addiction for the next 9 years, my mom passed away. She died two months after my first son was born. She was 40 years old. As I struggled to find my way as a new mom, Grandma was there to support me. She came over to wash dishes, fold clothes and insist that I take a nap. As my son got older, Grandma was there to baby-sit when I got a part-time job. Together they went to the park, made cookies and played trains. When he took up baseball, Grandma was always ready to toss him the ball in the backyard. She still laughs remembering the time he drilled her in the forehead with a wiffle ball! “I’ll go get some ice” she laughed and came right back to play while holding a bag of frozen peas on her head. That’s my Grandma. She’s one tough cookie. She can’t and won’t be knocked down. Despite the fact that she lost a daughter and 2 grandsons within 10 years, she never once lost her faith. She believes that everything happens for a reason even though we don’t always know what that reason is.
The faith she instilled in me became very important when an ultrasound revealed that my 3rd child was going to be born with a birth defect. I didn’t know how we would survive it, but as always, Grandma lent me her shoulder to cry on. She was there to comfort me, guide me with her words of wisdom. Together we battled the storm and my son is now a thriving middle schooler.
This year marks my 40th birthday. I have officially outlived my mom. I often think of her when my kids are in a school play or talent show, wishing she were there to clap and cheer for them, as any proud grandma would do. Instead, I have my Grandma. The woman who mothered me when my own mom couldn’t. The woman who molded me into the mother I’ve always wanted to become. So on this Mother’s Day, I love,honor and thank them both. I hope I’ve made them proud.
Honorable Mention - Debi G.
I was born in 1954, a time when woman stayed home and raised their families. Unfortunately, my mother had to assume the bread winner position in my life. Divorced from a nightmare, she sought for a better life for me and her. Not a time in history where taking on a man's world was all that easy. My mom built a career for herself working as a manager at Woolworths in the food department. I remember her taking me to work and going downstairs where the food was prepared. She lightened up days for me when she brought home a Nancy Drew book, a Barbie outfit or a box of Fannie Mae Candy (white almond bark). It hadn't dawned on me at the time how she must have sacrificed things for herself so that I didn't have to go without. There were trips to the lakes, Santa's Village and far away places like Disneyland in California and NYC. It's strange to look back in time and realize that everything she did, she did to make my life better. Now, as I look back, I realize that she was a young girl with hopes and dreams for herself, who unfortunately met with hard circumstances like an abusive alcoholic husband,which made her redirect HER hopes into hopes for ME. She made sure to give me an education and a life that was filled with hopes and dreams for a future. She also cared for her aging parents that we lived with. She never missed a beat when it came to sharing all that she had. My mom Joan... just my mom growing up, but today, she is a hero in my eyes.
Honorable Mention - Taiesha L.
My mother, Ida, is an amazing mom because she cares. No literally. She cares about everyone and everything. She used to make big meals for everyone. She loves to feed people, & it hurts her to see anyone hungry. My mother couldn't give birth to children of her own so she adopted me and my brother and gave us the best life she could. We didn't have anything from clothes or food, and she always made sure that we had more than enough, and then once the clothes got too small, we would take our clothes/or toys to donate to the goodwill, or she would take our things to places for kids that were less fortunate. And she's amazing for that. I think its so beautiful when you can adopt children and raise them as your own and give them what they didn't have. I love my mom and she's amazing!