May 14, 2017

Smarty Mother’s Day Tribute: We Love Our Moms!

“There are not enough angels to take care of everyone in the world, so God created Mothers.”

Happy Mother’s Day Smarties!

Smarty Jen P


Mother’s Day is a bittersweet time for me. I lost my mom 2 1/2 years ago and it feels like 100. I start to feel a tightening in my heart the weeks before Mother’s Day when I start to see the ads pop up everywhere and I know what’s coming. Which is exactly why I go all out in the CSP Mother’s Day Giveaway – it keeps me distracted during a sad time and also makes me feel really happy when we shower all of our Smarty Moms with fabulous gifts.

Lately, I am missing my mom more and more as I’m parenting a high school daughter. Probably because I’ve raised an exact mini replica of myself and I know what I was thinking and doing when I was her age. And now I know what it’s like to be my mom:-) And let me just say to her, “OHHHHH, I TOTALLY get it! I’m so very sorry for my teenage years. I also know you are having a good chuckle up in heaven right about now. I’m pretty sure you might have said to me once in high school – ‘wait ’til you have a daughter.’ Well I do, and I get it! I only wish you were here with me to share the laughs and ease my mind a little. I turned out OK, right?”

So here’s to my Mom on Mother’s Day – this day will never be the same for me. I love you and miss you more than you’ll ever know!

Smarty Cheryl



These two moms – my mom, Linda, and my mother-in-law, Sally – are the Queen Bees (yes, it’s possible to have two) of my entire world. I’ve actually written about them in the past – here and here. They’re VERY different in many ways. One raised girls; one raised boys. One is blonde and burns in a hot second; the other is brunette and tans like nobody’s business. One’s from Chicago, and one’s from a tiny town in Northeastern North Carolina. One “tolerates” pets; the other has two cats, a dog, and an urn in her living room with her beloved Sandy (not judging – my Mollie is on our family room bookshelves!). One lives-and-dies by perfectly-typed Excel spreadsheets, and the other’s texts read like a series of clicks from a remote tribe (that we can all surprisingly decipher!).

None of these difference matter when it comes right down to it, though. They’re moms. My mom and my husband’s mom. Our moms. Our kids’ grandmothers. The two women who I see glimpses of in my kids. The two women I often sound like without even trying – although I’m not sure I’ll ever get my MIL’s amazing Southern accent perfected. The two women whose genes mixed up so much that I got a red head. The two women who taught me that, although life can feel topsy-turvy at times, shopping is a sure thing, so always start there (preferably at Talbots or Belk). The two women who love their family so fiercely that they are willing to not only spend every Thanksgiving as a combined family, BUT they are willing to bring the majority of the food so the “moms in the trenches”- as my mom calls those of us with kids still in the house – don’t have to do so much of the cooking. They’ve even tried each other’s Thanksgiving stuffing/dressing {maybe once?}!

Yes, these two women are the ultimate examples of Steel Magnolias – grace, strength, loyalty mixed with just the right amount of flexibility, and motherly love. If they don’t agree with everything we’re doing, they’re really good at pretending, which is, quite honestly, an amazing life skill that I hope to have with my own adult kids. They continue to shape who I am and who my family is today, and for that I am so thankful and SO LUCKY. Happy Mother’s Day to Mimi and Sashi – thanks for loving me, John, the kids and {sort of} the dogs so unconditionally and for being the two very best Queen Bees in all the {mother}land!

Smarty Jenni


My Mom. She is my everything. Just this morning, she shared with me a quote, “”If you ever feel distressed during your day — call upon our Lady — just say this simple prayer: “Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’ I must admit — this prayer has never failed me.”–Blessed Mother Teresa  She said, use this when you are feeling overwhelmed, or feeling down…. as the conversation continued we started talking about other things… and then by the end, she said this to me, “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together” (a quote famously said by Elizabeth Taylor) … she is a ONE of a KIND. She will make you laugh until your belly hurts.

Mom, Life would be boring without you. You keep me on my toes. Thanks for being amazing. Happy Mother’s Day. Love you, Jen Jen.

Smarty Mary Kate


Not flesh of my flesh,

Nor bone of my bone,

but still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute;

You didn’t grow under my heart

but in it.

To my best friend, Dorothy Menze, I love you, Mom. Love, Mary Kate Watkins

Smarty Heather


I could write a whole article about how fantastic my mom is! One of our best-loved family activities is our annual beach trip.  We have done this for the past fifteen years and it is always one of my favorite weeks of the year.  Whether we are swimming, bike riding, crabbing, boating or just cooking big dinners together it’s always an amazing time.  My mom wanted for us to have great family memories and because of her we definitely do! She’s the best and I love her so much.

Smarty Mais-Lis

Dear Mom,

Your adventurous spirit and love for travel wove into my soul. Once upon a time, we sewed with real threads, side-by-side. Now we sew our footsteps into the world, sometimes following the same stitch lines, while other times I follow your patterns that you have so carefully created. The music I hum in my head and feel in my soul started with the first beat from your favorite records. Together we danced and paused to the lyrics of so many who also threaded us together; I will forever love and feel your presence upon hearing the playlists from our living room. You threaded empathy through me with your love for all things living, including the stories of the past that you have kept alive. The strength and resilience that manifested within you as a little girl in a German refugee camp and then as an immigrant into England, not only wove its strong threads into me, but also wove into your granddaughter’s heart. All the while, you have remained humble and never claimed to be the original thread-keeper. But know, that I know, where the threads of my soul are woven from.

Happy Mother’s Day! I love you!


Smarty Danielle


Wild Horses

I traveled to Arizona to surprise my Grandmother for Mother’s Day five years ago. My mother was temporarily living there also, so it seemed like the perfect time to visit and celebrate such a special day with them both. My mom picked me up from the airport and we drove straight to grandma’s house. I rang the doorbell and she answered the door in shock…and then the happy tears!

What better way to celebrate such a surprise than happy hour at The Cheesecake Factory?!? I even remember what we ordered…Avocado Egg Rolls, Orange Chicken, and about 5 pieces of cheesecake to split. While we were catching up through conversation, my mother leaned in and whispered, “I have a surprise for you, too”. I remember thinking that the weekend was supposed to be about her and grandma, not me.

My mom knew that riding horses through the mountains was a bucket list item for me. She just so happened to schedule us that weekend to ride horses through the Sedona Mountains. If you’ve never been to the Sedona Mountains, you absolutely have to see them before you die. You will feel insignificant, but your appreciation for life will swell immensely. At least, that’s the feeling I always have when I take a moment to really watch the world around me in Sedona.

We made the drive from Scottsdale to Sedona, which is a wonderful memory on it’s own. Road trips have always been fun with mom…especially when we pull up the wrong address…which is clearly housed by mountain people who wish NOT to be disturbed… and end up lost in the mountains. HA! Once we finally found our actual destination, I was thrilled to see the horses and the beginning of the trail!

Starting out on the trail was the most exhilarating experience. No iphone. No technology. No communication with the “social” climate of what humanity has become. Just my mom, myself, horses and an incredible experience riding through the Sedona Mountains. Unfortunately, this adventure didn’t last as long as we would have hoped.  Just as life could not have possibly become any more perfect, the guide’s horse bucked her off…and we were forced to turn around so she could receive medical care. Her horse was a “trained” wild horse…

Similar to wild horses, the spirit of my mother and I is a fiery one.  We are strong, we are fierce, but you cannot break our spirit. Wild Horses can’t be broken.

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