Reflections from Amy, Joyce, Dorcas and Esther
There's no question that every Mother's Day is a very special day. Each of us reflects here on our memories with mom.
Mother's Day is such a meaningful day for me.
As both a daughter and a mother, I can't help running through so many special memories in my mind as the day approaches. And many of them bring, along with the memories, images of key pieces of jewelry, strongly linked to the emotions of the day.
Here are three that have very special meaning to me:
When my parents got married, money was tight. At one point - I found this out years later - they actually had to pawn their original bands. Once things got better (and before an age at which I can remember) my dad bought my mom a replacement ring, a simple and lovely yellow gold to band that she wore every day of her life from then on. When she passed away, I chose to keep that band, which was more precious to me than her diamond ring (also acquired much later in her life) - and every time I look at its graceful lines, I am reminded of the grace, love and acceptance of an amazing wife and mother.
I recall my mother, getting ready for special evenings out with my dad, had a very specific ritual. It started by putting on a lovely dress, applying her lipstick and mascara oh so carefully, and adding a little puff of her favorite perfume in the crease of her neck and the base of her wrist. The outfit was not complete, though, until she affixed her favorite pair of bold, gemmy earrings, which dangled from her lobes and shimmered to reflect the excitement of the night's plans. I would sit on her bed, transfixed by the vision as she stood in front of her mirror. This scene played out many times during my childhood, and although the outfits changed, the jewelry never did. Those earrings are still so clear in my mind, all these years later.
My mom was also a real fan of brooches. She was a healthcare professional, and during her work day could not wear much jewelry. However, she wore suits pretty much every day, and never failed to add one of her favorite pins to accessorize and cheer up the severity of the "uniform" she wore. Some were bold gold with pearls, others had colored gemstones with diamond accents. Each had a story of where she had acquired it, whether in her travels around the world with my dad, or as a gift from her daughter (who happened to work at her favorite jewelry store - Fortunoff!). She never forgot to mention the memory as she pinned a piece through the wool or silk of her jacket.
Jewelry, for her, was a physical memento of moments of life and love.
What more could one ask?
Mothers are our first and best teachers, passing along their wisdom, their experience, and their unconditional love. Mom is the bedrock of the family unit, the sturdy foundation upon which hopes and dreams are built into the reality of the next generation.
I am blessed that my mom is still living close by and our whole family is grateful to be able to hug, and speak, and share. She is the center of our family universe, the shining star giving light and life.
The most special joy of all, perhaps, comes as each daughter becomes a mother herself. I have come to understand just how much my own mother has sacrificed all those years, especially when I suddenly found myself with a child of my own. I really appreciate even more what my own mother gave, to bring us all to this joyful new place.
Whether you are a child celebrating your own mother, or a mother yourself - or both - I hope you'll take this day to come together, to share and give thanks to mothers everywhere, as I do to mine.
My mother's presence in my family's life was far too short. My remembrance is of a strong, fiercely loving and hardworking mom. Even after a very long day out in the fields doing farming, she would come home with energy to tackle the housework and spend time with us. She was remarkable!
The best of all was her reading aloud to us with superb diction, acting out the parts and filling our home with her voice and warmth. The most indelible mark she left on us was her love and zest for life and all it has to offer. I learned how to love from my mom. What a gift!
As a mother myself now, I look back and pull the strength from deep within to continue her legacy of caring love and laughter. She may be long gone now, but each day I thank her because she showed me and my siblings the strength of a woman.
When I choose jewelry for myself and my daughters, I do it in honor of my mom.
I often think of my grandmother Clara, and wonder what she would think about Fortunoff if she could see it today. The world, and our business, have changed so much since that first store on Livonia Avenue in Brooklyn. Clara worked tirelessly to build the business, but never lost sight of the importance of building her family, as well.
Following Clara, my mother Helene enjoyed a great career, shattering glass ceilings, accumulating accolades and awards, and making a huge impact in the world of jewelry. She launched many of the most famous designers from around the world. She always loved pearls of all sorts, Italian design and unusual gemstones. My mom, too, would tell you that she kept an equally firm eye on her family. It is inspiring – and a little daunting – to follow in the steps of these great women who built my family business.
Today, as I get ready to celebrate my first Mother's Day without my mom, I reflect on some of our shared experiences. Little moments in the car on the way to a special event and sharing the joy of a celebration. I remember, shed a tear and smile.
We wish you all a happy Mother's Day!