As we head into the Mother’s Day weekend, it felt timely to share some memories of my mom and growing up at National.
As long as I can remember, my mom was a “working mom.” From the early days of National, “Georgie”, my grandfather relied on my mom for advice on parts of the business, especially merchandising. (He knew customer service and problem solving. Product details like nighties and hosiery – my grandmother and my mom certainly knew best). So, the phone would ring, and off we would go. Mom packing us into the wagon and driving down the road to National, just a few small-town blocks away.
As mailers turned into catalogs, it seemed the phone was always ringing (and my grandparents were always at our house for dinner – my favorite plus side of family business). 400 National Boulevard became my sister and mine’s playroom. And since mom was there, we were there.
I even celebrated my 1st birthday, which I shared with my grandfather, in the National breakroom alongside 100 members of our “family.” Between the song and cupcakes from Fancy Pastry, it made for a day to cherish. From my very earliest days, my grandfather was celebrity status in my eyes.
Little did I know my mom had help to orchestrate everything.
Another big stand-out memory is the day, my sister Lanier was asked to be a model on one of National’s catalog covers. Mom and I watched as she got all fixed up. To me, it was like watching Lanier play a magical version of “dress up”. Lights. Camera. Action. She did so well, I got to do it too! We spent many a Saturday getting “fixed up,” pretending to have tea parties with the models. “Now pretend she’s me.” Mom would say directing us on set. As a toddler I did not understand why a model needed to play my mom for the cover shot, as I thought my mom was just as beautiful. But I played along. Cover after cover. So much fun.
From modeling to writing, blogs to photoshoots, business school to business advice mom has been there. From orchestrating birthday cupcakes, to placing me in the lights to feel important, she’s helped to make me who I am. And that’s what mothers do.
As I continue to stretch my wings with motherhood, business, and being an entrepreneur, I often wonder why my cup is always so full. Then I reflect on the fullness that was my impressionable years, and I realize one thing: that I am my mother’s child.