This is my first Mother’s Day without my mother.
She was my inspiration and greatest supporter in making the leap into jewelry design after a consulting career.
She started her professional life as one of few female microbiologists in the 1970s. While working full-time in pharmaceuticals and raising her first baby, my mother followed a creative pill to start painting. She soon became accomplished, launching a line of individually hand-painted ornaments.
Of the 80s country revival style, her pieces were picked up by high end boutiques, including the American Folk Art museum gift shop in NYC. Mom listened to her intuition, driving her success with her work ethic.
Similarly, I began my career in the analytical consulting field. Jewelry design was a personal passion, never a considered profession. I tumbled into it, one step at a time, my rational brain resisting the creative pull.
It began with a whirlwind summer vacation visit to a luxury bead shop, followed by working well into the early morning creating an intricate semiprecious necklace.
It was Mom who nudged me from a hobby to a skill - finding my first fine jewelry bench classes, suggesting I take private lessons with a retired Cartier jeweler, and bringing me to exhibits.
After a showcase for the iconic Georg Jensen designer Viviana Torun Bülow-Hübe I told Mom I would love to work for Jensen someday or even Tiffany, but that it would never happen. Two years later when I began a job within Tiffany & Co.‘s Manhattan-based product development area, Mom repeated those forgotten words back to me.
When I became a mother, I realized that Mom had demonstrated a lesson within a lesson. While modeling how to follow one’s calling, she was also modeling the essence of motherhood — to nurture and guide your children in realizing their unique path.
I try to emulate my mother. As much as realizing my vision is vitally fulfilling, guiding my son in his growth is my first and most important job.
Several months before she passed, my mother told me that while she loved my professional achievements, she was most proud of my accomplishments as a mother. I think of this moment today as I know I must go it alone from here on out. I hope she was telling me I was ready.