If you’ve been following along, you should (possibly) remember that I’m not a mother (does “childless trainwreck some days” ring a bell?) Well, I’m not a mother to a human, I should say. I do have a pup named Pasta...
...so I’ll be sure to do it up right on Dog Mom Day (if that’s a thing). However, I do have a mother and I love her dearly.
So, I thought it would be fun to torture her with a questionnaire full of tough inquiries; and she came through like a champ. Please enjoy as I reveal some personal tidbits about her, and of course, insert my own commentary because I can. Full disclosure: I cried reading some of her responses. Yes, I’m a crier.
- Can you share a favorite memory of Brittany?
One of my favorite memories was when Brittany took over a space in our old basement (a root cellar, really). It had a partial dirt floor, super low ceilings and stone walls. She made it an art studio and created painted flower pots. That is a part of her personality that I love - how she takes whatever space she is in and makes it exciting and beautiful.
*I absolutely remember this and adore that this is a memory she recalled. I spent a lot of time in that dank ass basement painting my little heart out. I can still see it (and smell it) like it was yesterday.
- What’s an important lesson you learned from your mother?
Pick your battles. Be a good listener. If you don’t have anything nice to say, just smile and murmur something non-committal, then pretend you just remembered something you are late for and leave.
*This made me laugh! I love my freakin’ grandmother. She is a straight up G. As for something I’ve learned from my mother: Don’t be afraid to be you, even when it ain’t pretty. The right people will love you for it.
- What is something you have accomplished that you are proud of?
Because I was such a terrible student as a child, being able to get A's in my college courses as a working adult/single mother was huge to me.
*I’m also extremely proud of my mom for this, and for being a single mother holding it down for so many years. I truly don’t know how she did it. I have some friends who are on the solo parenting path at the moment, and I want you to know something: your kiddos will be alright. You are doing an amazing job, even if it feels like you’re only subpar pulling through sometimes. You’ve got this, and we’ve got you – it takes a village!
- What is something Brittany has accomplished that you are proud of?
There are so many things to be proud of but I am so proud of her independence and her drive to follow her passions (travel and art).
*I git it from my mama! Really. She instilled creativity in her children at a young age, and that has had a huge impact on my personal artistic development. I’ve seen her craft all kinds of wonderful things, from pastel drawings to calligraphy to my gorgeous handmade scarf I got for Christmas.
I love that she has always felt so strongly about creative expression, and she encourages it in those around her. I also love that one childhood Christmas she forgot how many packs of markers she got my sister and I, and we had to feign excitement (“more markers, yaaaay!”) when the fifth pack was unwrapped. To this day, I’m still a huge fan of markers. I also still have the red art box with my name on it that my mom gave me for Christmas in 1990. Thanks, ma!
- Is there a moment or event that radically altered the way you see the world?
*That’s it. That’s all she wrote. Literally.
- What is a piece of advice you want to give to other mothers out there? And some words of wisdom for daughters?
Same advice to both – give each other some slack and some grace. Life is hard, and we all start out young and inexperienced and, with any luck, we live until we can get smarter. Unfortunately, sometimes the decisions we make when we are young and dumb don’t age well at all; but no one purposely sets out to make a mistake, so keep moving and growing. By the way, this advice is good for anyone.
*My mom and I have had this conversation before. I’ve admitted to her that it took me a long time to understand that she was doing the best she could when I was younger. It’s easy to get lost in your own hurt feelings about things, but it takes time and experience to appreciate the struggle and perspective of another person’s journey. Mom’s response reminds me of one of my favorite things I’ve come across on the internet, which I often revisit when I’m being hard on myself or others:
“You never talk about your regrets. Don’t you have any?”
“I guess, but I don’t like to call them regrets. I refer to them as wonderings.”
“Because I always wonder what would have happened if things had played out differently. But to name my past decisions ‘mistakes’ or ‘regrets’ is foolish. If I chose something, it was the right choice at the time. We never purposefully make mistakes; we only call them that in hindsight.”
- Amanda Torroni
- What do you remember about the day Brittany was born?
It’s going to sound corny and cliché, but I experienced the greatest love I had ever felt, immediately followed by the greatest fear I had ever felt. With that great love came the memories of every story of loss I had ever heard, and I realized that I now loved someone so much that the thought of losing her was unbearable.
*Wahhhh! Yeah, this made me cry. Thank you to all the parents out there for your unconditional love, unwavering strength and brazenness when bringing another life into this crazy world. I give you the utmost respect.
- What was the first year of motherhood like for you?
Amazing, overwhelming, magical, terrifying, usually all at the same time. And very loud – she had colic so she cried a lot, hahaha (I can laugh about it now).
*So, for some reason I didn’t know that I was such a miserable baby; but when I read this, I joked with Lauren saying, “Well, that explains a lot.”
- You have a free day to do whatever you want. Describe what you do.
That would be knitting in a comfy place all alone (no dogs to stare me down).
*I knew knitting would be somewhere in this response. I can picture her beautiful face blissfully knitting away doggo-free. I also have to tell you a cute story about my mom. She came to visit me one weekend to see a theatre production I was involved in at the time. I answer the door to let her in and notice there’s a taut strand of yarn coming out of her fanny pack of knitting supplies. I take in more of the scene and realize that it traces back to her vehicle, which is parked a little up the street from my front door. It had gotten caught inside the car and unraveled all the way to my doorstep, like a safety string. I had just watched the Netflix movie Bird Box, so it reminded me of that and made me chuckle. Not knowing the reference, she just laughed along with me and retraced her steps back to the car. It makes me smile every time I think about it.
- What was your life like in your 30’s?
Awful – my 50’s have been pretty amazing though!!
*I asked this question because I’m in my 30’s and I know that her life was very different at my age; however, that’s all I got as a response, so yeah! Cheers to your 50’s, mom – you’re killin’ it!
- Who are some people that you admire/inspire you?
No one specifically – I find inspiration in everything!!
*Just when you think you might gain some magical insight about your mother, she answers with this blanket statement, haha.
- In what ways do you see yourself in Brittany?
Oh my, so many ways. We are both introspective, creative, curious, and super cool.
*I can’t deny that I become more and more like my mother every year – and I’m okay with that. My sister and I always joke about our mannerisms being very mom-like, especially when the three of us are in the same space. Other people have even mentioned it!
- What’s the best way Brittany can support you and show she cares at this point in your life?
Bring cake – lots of cake!
*I don’t even really know what this means, but I guess my job is to be the bringer of baked goods? On it!
- What is your favorite celestial object?
The moon!! Although I generally admire it at a different time than my daughter!
*We’ve both been weird sleepers most of our lives. My mom is an early to bed, early to rise kind of person. We’re talking in bed at 8 PM and up at 3 AM early. I, on the other hand, am not that person. There have been several occasions in the past when I’ve been coming home in the wee hours and my mom is getting up for the day. “Good morning,” she says. “Good night,” I reply. But we’ve also had some really great conversations during this transition. She enjoys the quiet of the (very) early morning. As do I when I finally fall out on the couch – until she goes to make her breakfast smoothie in the blender. Just kidding, mom! I luh youuuu.
- Describe yourself in three words. Describe Brittany in three words.
Me - Creative, patient, optimistic
Britt - Creative, humorous, sensitive
*There’s not much to say about this except it’s all true.
- If you could have a dinner party with five people (living or dead), who would you invite and why?
My two grandfathers, as they died when I was very young and I have no memory of them. My father, who just died in January (so many questions), DaVinci, and Ellen.
*I think I would also like to join this dinner party. Learning family anecdotes, painting tips and cool dance moves? Count me in!
- What are some of your favorite Yugen pieces?
I love a piece that I got for Mother’s Day one year, a birth moon necklace with all of our moons.
*My mom is referring to a piece we designed for Uncommon Goods – annnnd I just made a bazillion of these for this Mother’s Day! Haha. The big moon is her birth moon, and the littles are mine, my sister’s and brother’s. It really is a special necklace! Feel free to order one for any occasion. Yours truly will make it for ya!
So, there were originally 20 thought-provoking questions, and my mom only skipped three. That’s pretty impressive. Though I’m a little curious as to why one of the blank ones was: What was Brittany like as a child? [insert thinking man emoji]. Maybe it’s best we don’t know.
Thank you to my mom for being a good sport and playing along. Thank you to all the mothers out there doin’ the damn thang and raising high-quality humans. I know it’s not an easy job, but I promise we appreciate you more than just on this holiday – even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. You da real MVPs!
P.S. Lauren's mom was also pinged for the questionnaire, but she's quite private on the internet and sends her love. Here's one of Lauren's favorite childhood pics for good measure! (Also pictured, Lauren's younger sister Annmarie, who has her own shop!)