A Mom’s Influence…

…is simply invaluable.

I thought about a lot of people I admire and how so many of them wouldn’t have gotten there without that maternal support.
So I’ll go and do some of that and talk from a personal place for my “grand finale” of sorts.

JESSE MCCARTNEY

Ginger McCartney didn’t just influence Jesse’s aspirations for the entertainment industry. Both of his parents were actors. But after Dream Street broke, she joined forces with Sherry Kondor, the co-founder of Sugar Beats (the kiddie cover-singing group Jesse was a part of) to manage his solo career.
Throughout his career, Sherry’d become like a second mom to him, and the combination of the two “mom-agers” are just as integral to his success as his own talents.
[Sherry’s son, Dillon, also played guitar in Jesse’s first back-up band.]

PRINCE

Mattie Shaw was a singer in Prince’s father’s band- the Prince Rogers Trio. While most of Prince’s drive for musical success can be credited to his father [this is worth an entry onto itself], he credits his “weirdness” to his mom.

I got weirdness from both of my parents, but the majority of it comes from my mom.

ROBERT DOWNEY JR.

As with the people above, he became an actor because he grew up in that world. His dad was an underground film-maker in the 60’s and 70’s and his mom was an actress.
It wasn’t until Elyse Ford’s death last year [ironically, after Robert had finished shooting “The Judge,” which begins with the death of the matriarch of the Palmer clan] that I learned just how much influence she’d had on him.

At the given moment, some of thoughts are with him because this is his first mother’s day without her.

On another personal note, my dad lost his mom ON mother’s day back in 2007. She was staying with his brother’s family and she’d passed away in her sleep. At her funeral, we weren’t just reminiscing about our unique gatherings on Christmas and Easter. When we’d have to dress up really nice and make the trip to her immaculately kept house. On Easter, we all painted white patterned plushies with markers. A tradition the guys in the family did begrudgingly, but do regardless. We also saw old photos- many said she looked like an old-time Hollywood movie star from the 40’s and 50’s.
My dad revealed a couple years after the fact that she and her mom were the ones who pushed him to go to college. He was the manager of a restaurant [part of a franchise that’s no longer in business- he blames competitor Friendly’s, which has recently started down the same path]. The two of them kinda staged an intervention, saying he should have higher aspirations.
He wound up with almost a triple major- a few credits short of having a B.S. degree in Physics alongside Biology and Chemistry. Worked his way up from being a lab chemist to what he is now: International Sales Manager for a company that makes lubricates and oils for machinery in factories- both domestically and internationally. Unless of course his title had changed in the last five years… he can correct me on my Facebook status if that’s the case.

Ultimately, I guess that would mean my dad’s mom indirectly influenced my own college success.
Continuing tradition as it were, I wasn’t given much a choice about that either πŸ˜›
The friends I made on campus more than made up for the fact I left high school with only as many friends as I could count on my fingers and the time away from home allowed me to grow more as a person.

EVGENI PLUSHENKO
[I’m putting him before Taylor Swift on this, simply because my piece about her and her mom is tad more personal and poignant and the only thing that can logically follow it is more of my own experiences- moms that are directly in my own life]

I’ll just copy/paste something from a biography I read online
[http://tieba.baidu.com/p/46504950]
because I couldn’t write it better than this. [I will however comment after the fact]

[the quote is from his mother, Tatiana] “Everything began with a present. We met an acquaintance who brought her daughter at home, the girl cried because she didn’t wanted to skate anymore. My acquaintance saw Zhenya and asked him if he wants the skates. Zhenya said yes. “Ok, take them” and she gave him the skates of her daughter. “Everything happened totally by accident…. But the main thing is, what he immediately stopped being ill…”

I knew nothing about Plushenko before the Sochi Olympics and after his back surgery, I found this in my research… Apparently, he dealt with illness a lot as a child and skating improved his health [almost miraculously].
When he was 11, he traveled to St. Petersburg by himself when his local skating rink closed to train with Alexi Mishin, probably the most famous skating coach Russia has (or will likely ever have).
He didn’t just do it for the love of skating. He worked hard to become the skater is his now for her and his family. She eventually was able to join him in St. Petersburg and his motivation became to reunite his family and provide them with financial support.

Naturally, over the years, his motivation to win and improve changed- skating for himself, for his country, for his wife and his kids. But that drive all began thanks to his mom.

TAYLOR SWIFT

Taylor has the best family and friends that supported her on her way to her career and everything afterwards. But her mom, Andrea Swift, is the greatest contribution [that I can think of] to the person Taylor blossomed into.
For her sophomore album, “Fearless,” Taylor wrote a song called “The Best Day” about her mom.

The second verse is simply worth repeating because a lot of us have been there.

I’m 13 now and don’t know how my friends could be so mean.
I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys.
And we drive and drive until we’ve found a town far enough away.
And we talk and window shop ’till I’ve forgotten all their names.

I don’t know who I’m gonna talk to now at school.
but I know I’m laughing on the car home with you.
don’t know how long it’s gonna take to feel ok.
But I know I had the best day with you today.

Then some other lyrics worth mentioning… that I will literally cry to as I type.
I can never sing along to this song without blubbering. It’s so sentimental- makes me wish I could write something this good.

I know you were on my side even when I was wrong.
And I love you for giving me your eyes
Staying back and watching me shine.
And I didn’t know if you knew, so I’m taking this chance to say.
That I had my best day with you today.

[For years, I thought for some reason that this was about her dad… maybe because it was reminding me a bit of my relationship with my dad, but it works both ways. Especially the lyric “you were on my side even when I was wrong”… I found it was about her mom on the “Journey to Fearless” DVD and she premiered it for her mom and they showed a moment between the two of them.]

Andrea made a passionate speech for Taylor at an awards show recently- when I learned some more things about her I didn’t know. Apparently, Taylor wrote “Love Song” out of stubbornness- her parents disapproved of a guy she was seeing.
The whole speech is worth checking out
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/19/taylor-swifts-moms-speech-at-acm-all-the-tears_n_7097588.html

but this is my favorite part:

“For many years, I was her constant companion. And I witnessed a young girl with very few friends become one with many, learning to stand up for herself and the things she believes in. Being brave enough to explore her musical curiosity, having a voice against those who hate, and giving of herself to those in need.”

I can relate to that so much. My mom has been my best friend for years and still the one I’m closest with.
Hopefully, I will get to the point in my life where I become that strong and brave in my own convictions and not worry so much about limitations and what other people think of me.

Because Taylor’s mom is currently battling cancer, I felt like this was a good opportunity to post this for Momma Swift and wish her all the luck and spend all the prayer I can.
Taylor Swift is one of those people I feel a real kinship with because she writes lyrics the way I would if I had any songwriting talent [I only got as far as poetry]. She sees love and romance the way I do, but she’s been brave enough and strong enough to experience it- my own defense at the current moment is that I simply haven’t had the luxury to dive into the dating pool- I’m not together enough as a person yet to deal with anyone else πŸ˜›

So I’ll end this in thanking Andrea Swift for being Taylor’s biggest supporter and helping her to become the person us Swifties now know her to be πŸ˜‰

A LITTLE MORE PERSONAL…

My mom has 7 sisters. I’m especially close with three of them. They’ve supported me in ways that are similar, but also unique to each individual. As a whole, though, they take time to acknowledge and support my interests, celebrate my triumph and have my back when things were dark.
And they all have their own kids, so it means a lot that they extend my sister and I that same love and support.

One of them is my godmother and has been like a second mom a lot of occasions. All of my aunts and my mom have been on my side even when I was wrong, but somehow it means the most coming from her. When I was younger, she was the aunt I couldn’t wait to see and I’d been a mess when we had to leave. And it wasn’t just because she spoiled us rotten when we stayed with her πŸ˜› Her son followed his late dad’s footsteps to become a cop. He’d always been a model citizen (as far back as I can remember anyway) and his drive mainly comes from his dad- but his quirkiness and softer side definitely comes from her.

As for my own mom… I’d said a lot of things already about her when talking about other people.
She’s my best friend. We celebrate each other’s interests, even when one of us isn’t quite as enthusiastic πŸ˜›
It takes a lot of love on her part to sit through “Under the Cherry Moon” and at least half of “Graffiti Bridge” with me. Not Prince’s best filmography, but she stuck it out with me as long as she could manage.
In 2011 for mother’s day, I took her to see “Thor”… something that was probably more in my interest than hers– but she wound up enjoying the movie and was the first to suggest going out to see Chris Hemsworth’s next movies [the Thor sequel and Snow White & The Huntsman]… she isn’t nearly as enthasatic about the Marvel Universe as I am, but she enjoys seeing the movies with me.

She got me stuck on Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings… I guess it was only fair that I return the favor.
Twilight was something else I started that that she eagerly joined me on. [Although I admit I am annoyed when she screams at the movies, lol… not because they’re horrible, we love them, but she thinks her “intervening” will somehow change the course of the story].

The only times we’d really diverged were regarding Game of Thrones and True Blood… most series on HBO are too R-rated for me to really get into.

We also enjoy a lot of the same music. She’ll meet me halfway with Prince, but she won’t become a full-blown member of the purple community anytime soon. We listen to the radio so much that we learn the words to our favorite songs and sing-along… something that confounds my dad to no end, especially when the songs show up on “Dancing with the Stars”… that’s what he gets for not listening to anything current.

When I get fanatical about new things and people, she’s the first one to pick up on it πŸ˜› the eye rolls are less frequent with her, but it does occur every now and then.
It says a lot that she’s on a first-name basis with them [Jesse and Robert especially]- as if through me they’ve kinda become members of our family.

I had a :lightbulb: moment when I was brainstorming for our mother’s day card.
I asked if she entertains our interests because she feels guilty for passing on her “weirdo” DNA to us?

The jury’s still out on that, but whatever the reason, we love her for it.
[not exactly how I wrote it, but the sentiment’s the same]

So on that note, happy mother’s day to my mom and all the above-mentioned moms and thank you for bringing your own unique brands of awesomeness into our lives- whether it’s directly or indirectly.

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