Friday, May 8, 2009

Where Does The Hand-Me-Down End and the Me Begin?

In honor of Mother's Day, here's a list of items (both tangible and intangible) my mother has handed down to me:

  • the ability to say "I love you" over 10 times when saying good-bye to my children
  • a love of reading
  • the Bible her parents gave her as a girl
  • worry wart tendencies
  • funky cool bags and scarves from the late '60s - early '70s that everyone covets
  • a baby toe that leans wanly onto the others
  • blue eyes
  • the ability to make a perfect pancake, hard boiled egg, beef stew, tuna salad and countless other essential culinary tasks
  • a good balance of frugality, generosity and appreciation of quality
  • devotion to all black and white movies on AMC
  • the words to all the old poems I have memorized, like The Highwayman and the beginning of Hiawatha and the prologue to The Canterbury Tales
  • pearl earrings and necklaces
  • pearls of wisdom
I know my mother has handed me down so many more things...but it's hard to recollect them.

The tangibles are tough because my mother is a darn good shopper and my children, husband and I are some of the prime recipients of her plentiful loot. She likes to give presents, not foist her old stuff onto us. And I live on the other side of the country, so most hand-me-downs must be mailable or able to fit in a suitcase. And she's a young mom and grandma - still in her 50s - so it's not like she's going to be passing out all her treasures like one of the Cocooners, thank God.

The intangibles are hard to articulate because so much of who I am is my mother, and someone she helped form and influence. Where does her personality's influence leave off and my own inner personality begin? It's all muddled. I'm her daughter. I'm just like her or trying so hard to be different than her that her stamp is still undeniably there. My entire being is a hand-me-down.

But that patchwork suede bag and the groovy geometric print scarf? That's ALL my mom!

Johnson's® and celebrity moms Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba are also into hand me downs. Johnson's annual Celebrity Hand Me Down charity auction runs today on eBay until Thursday May 14, featuring items donated by those hot mama stars. All proceeds will benefit the new global Johnson's® No More Tears® Clean Water initiative via their charitable giving site, Baby Cause.

And you know Gwyneth and Jessica A. have some cool shiz to hand down! My size 10 ass is personally going to focus on bags and shoes and leave Jessica's jodhpurs to you tinier ladies.

This post was inspired by my love of my mother this Mother's Day and my love for The Parent Bloggers...and Johnson's® too, for without countless bottles of their Head to Toe Baby Wash my children would be the dirtiest urchins in the land.

Graphic design by Jeannine Marie Soden of ROYGBIV Design

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