Heart of Haiti: A Tribute to My Mom

Heart of Haiti

For the Heart of Haiti campaign, I was asked to write a brief post about a woman who has helped and inspired  me.   The first person who comes to mind is my mom, and no one else.

My mom is my rock.  She’s my support system.  She’s my friend.  She’s my biggest supporter.  She’s genuine and one of the most gracious people I’ve ever met.  With her, everyone else comes first.  She has lived the most unselfish life imaginable.  When I’m sick, I hear from her ten times a day.  She always puts other’s needs before her own, and she has taught me so much about charity and giving back.

When my husband first moved in with me, he couldn’t believe how often she and I talked on the phone.  I moved to NYC when I was 24 years-old.  For weeks before my move, my bag was packed and I was ready to leave Atlanta where I had grown up.  She did her best to prevent me from leaving.  Snow…rain….whatever excuse she could think of, she stopped me from leaving for as long as she could, until she could stop me no longer.

It’s funny, I never knew how much like her I was until I had children.  As a mom, I feel more like her than ever before.  I am highly protective of my children, just as she was with my two sisters and I.  I come out with old wive’s tales, just as she did.  I make sure that my children experience everything possible in life.  I enroll them in different classes to discover their skills and talents – piano, dance, theater, macrame, soccer – you name it, we try it, just as I did as a child.  I make sure that my children’s lives are culturally enriched just as she did with me.  She took my sisters and I to Gene Kelly film festivals, to see “Gone with the Wind” at the Fox Theater year after year, to see Liberace in person, to the Piedmont Park Arts Festival year after year.  My love of culture definitely spawned from my mother, as did my love of travel.  When I was 16, a woman named Elaine Gruenhut came to my Sunday School to talk about a 2-month high school program in Israel.  I went home determined to go, but we didn’t have the money.  Within days, my mother pulled it together, with the help of her beloved father, and I embarked on a program that would change and impact my entire life.  It not only impacted the choices I would later make in life, but it opened up my world entirely.  And she made it happen.

Last year, my mom dealt with one of the hardest experiences of her life, and she did it with grace.  Her brother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August and within months he passed away.  Born mentally disabled, he came to live with her and my father after his parents died in 1992.  She spent the last 20 years ensuring that he had a wonderful life.  He owed everything to her, and he knew it.  Their love for each other was unconditional.  Until his last moment on this earth, she made sure he was comfortable and surrounded by the people who loved him most.  I expected no less from her.  She is my hero.

This upcoming Mother’s Day, want to do something special for your mother?  Here’s an idea for doting on mom and helping other women in need, also — all at the same time:

Shop the Heart of Haiti Project (HOH), an endeavor founded by Willa Shalit (daughter of Gene Shalit) and her company, Fairwinds Trading. HOH offers artisan-crafted decorative arts and jewelry for sale, and all income derived from sales of the products on the HOH site enhances an artisan’s family’s nutrition, educates children, and brings access to healthcare and dignity. Macy’s is a partner in this venture, and you can shop the HOH collection in its entirety at http://bit.ly/gaalFP.

BONUS: Special 15% discount for YOU when you purchase a Mother’s Day gift from the Heart of Haiti and Rwanda Path to Peace collection between 5/3 – 5/8. Just use promocode: CLEVERGIRLS.

Disclosure: I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.

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  1. A touching tribute to your mom. Isn’t it funny how we start to say the same things they said to our own children.

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