Remembering a mom who encouraged her daughter to just be herself

'Thanks, mom'

When I was a kid, I was weird.

I liked wearing a flowery embroidered purple tunic with just about anything, regardless of colour or pattern (it was my favourite top). I wore horizontally striped socks with skirts. I carried a book bag years before any of my schoolmates. What I thought was cool never synced up with what was generally considered cool. I was a complete klutz, not coordinated at all. I was taller than most of the boys in my class and I didn’t wear a bra until senior high school. (Also not cool, as I was often reminded.)

My mom always let me be me. She would check with me as I got older sometimes, maybe offering an alternative for consideration, but she supported my final decisions.

Mostly, I liked being weird. I have always enjoyed quirky things, and new adventures. They attracted me.That why I became such a foodie, I wanted to try new tastes and understand how to incorporate them.

Becoming a sommelier was also a perfect fit for me—it’s a bit of a nerdy pursuit, learning all that history and geography and tasting wine, but then spitting it out.

When I took up gardening, I found another weird way to express myself. Just like that embroidered top, the flowers that attract me are unique and the patterns in my garden plots are more wild than organized.

For some people, all this is just too much of a difference. It can scare them away. I have been very fortunate to find some wonderful friends over the years, but often I’ve encountered folks who just don’t know what to do with me, or how to respond to all my weirdness.

I remember asking my mom on one particularly tough day, at about the age of 15, “All of this is just a phase, right? It will pass. I’ll grow out of it, won’t I?”

Without hesitating, she answered, “No dear, it’s not a phase. You’ll have to learn to live with it.”

I think back then I figured she was kidding. It took me another few years to realize I was born not to fit in. The more I tried to be a part of the cool crowd, the more they disliked me. I should have connected the dots, knowing my tastes were different.

Once I understood that others who had similar (equally weird) tastes were my “tribe,” then I stopped trying to explain the differences as a way of being accepted.

My mom passed away recently. I was chuffed (thrilled) to see her embrace her own weirdness in a new way once she retired. She spent the last 11 years of her life sailing and travelling, with winters in Mexico. She met new people and made new friends.

As this Mother’s Day approaches, I am flooded with all kinds of memories we shared and I am grateful for the skills she taught me like cooking, gardening, reading, and appreciating the little things.

She was always a traditional Mom, making great cookies, putting notes in my lunch, sewing my choir outfits and Hallowe’en costumes.But the best thing my mom did for me was encourage me to be who I really am.

Thanks, Mom. I love you.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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