My mom never would have won a Mother of the Year Contest.
Mom was obsessed with being thin, with dressing well, and with beauty.
Whenever I came home from a party, it was never, “Diane, did you have fun?” It was always, “Were you the prettiest one there?”
I’m not so sure that I ever met that criterion.
I’m certainly not thin, and I’m most comfortable in yoga pants and sweats.
I can, though, at 57, finally say “I am beautiful” and embrace the beautiful woman that I am! That’s a wonderful thing about me—and you—we all have our own unique beauty—even if we don’t see it—yet.
My Mom Is with Me
I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother lately. (She died five years ago in June.) As I launch my blog, her spirit seems to have taken up residence in my brain, pushing me, challenging me, and cheering me on.
It feels nice.
My mom’s truly valuable lessons have stuck, and they’ve proven more useful with each passing year: lessons about grit, about getting up when you’ve fallen or been knocked down, and about the importance of learning—foremost and forever—learning.
She taught those lessons by example.
My mom grew up in the 1930s in an orphanage in the Old City of Jerusalem. She was “adopted” at the age of 14—and abused by her adoptive father. Mom met my dad a few years later; she had been working in a library, when my dad came in to borrow a book and fell in love with the “pretty girl behind the desk.” They married, had my two sisters, and moved to the U.S., travelling across the ocean to start a new life. I was born shortly after.
It was the era of the stay-at-home mom, so my mom stayed at home—and started a sewing business. She had cards made: “Alterations by Hanna.” The business failed. She got back up. Mom went to school for nursing when she was in her late 40s but discovered the field wasn’t for her. She kept going. Mom took up oil painting in her 50s. She worked in a travel agency. She read voraciously. She wrote. Nothing stood in the way of Mom’s exploration; she always kept growing.
Mom introduced me to TED Talks long before they were “a thing”; she studied philosophy, well into her 80s, and traveled cross-country with my cousin and his boyfriend in their “rock star” bus. She was 85 at the time.
Mom was always—always—intent on “becoming.”
It is never too late to become.
I’ve Become (and am still becoming)
I am a writer.
At 57, I am finally ready to claim it.
I, too, am a forever learner, and, also like my mom, a woman who loves to share what she’s learned, to discuss and connect and develop community. I’ve decided, at 57, to write a blog that would do just that.
So … here we are: WomanPause: Women Over 50 Rediscovering Ourselves
What Will You Find in WomanPause, Anyway?
WomenPause, will ask you to pause: Look back, look present, and look to the future—the future you want to create for yourself, for your family, for the world.
We will discuss practical issues. How to keep up with our ever-changing planet and our ever-changing relationships.
- Changes in relationships—with our kids, our partners, our friends.
- Changes in technology and culture.
- Changes in our bodies and our health, our roles and identities.
We will tackle the hard questions: Who am I? Who are you?
Whom do we want to become?
I will post on WomanPause on Fridays. Every Friday:
- One Friday a month, I’ll highlight an amazing woman and share her rediscovery journey.
- One Friday a month, I’ll share inspiring poems, books, articles written by women or about women.
- One Friday a month, I’ll tackle an issue particularly relevant to women on the rediscovery path.
- And one Friday a month, I’ll respond directly to you—to your comments, emails, questions.
So … Pause. Think. Share. I want to hear from you. Post a comment. Shoot me an email. If you like what you’ve read, spread the word! Let’s build community. Support each other in rediscovering ourselves.
Contests Are Overrated
It’s true. My mother would never have won a Mother of the Year Contest. (I’ll let you in on a secret—neither would I.)
But as I launch this blog, I promise to honor her wild and wonderful spirit—to be fearless when I can or to rise up in spite of my fear.
Come join me on the rediscovery path!
See you next Friday!
P.S. If you’d like to read a piece I wrote about my mom that was first published in Panoply, here’s the link: https://panoplyzine.com/mother-inspired-by-grace-paley-diane-gottlieb/