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A mother's wisdom is passed on

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Susan Rosser (right) and her mother Elaine (left) in the late 1980's.

By Susan Rosser

It’s springtime, which in my mind means it’s time to look for a new purse. Sure, this sounds easy enough and something most women enjoy. But, as I search for the perfect summer bag, I hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, “Never buy a pocketbook with a black lining.” This simple rule eliminates many top contenders for my 2017 summer bag.

I suppose, if we’re lucky, our parents impart their accumulated wisdom upon us. And while the major lessons are the ones I often think are the most valuable…be kind, work hard, do good…it’s the little things my mother taught me that play like a loop in my head and often bring a smile to my face.

Which brings me back to my handbag search. Each time I open up a prospective purse and see that ubiquitous black lining, I hear my mother say “Oh no, you’ll never be able to find anything in there.” And I must admit that every time I have bought a handbag with a black lining, I have lived to regret it. What woman hasn’t dug for her car keys in a dark parking lot? Who am I kidding? I’ve dug deep inside my purse, searching for keys or lipsticks while standing in my own kitchen. Pearl divers have an easier time recovering oysters from the sea.

Just a few weeks ago, my husband Richard and I decided to attend a black tie gala at the last minute. No problem for me in the dress department because my mother’s fashion mantra is “When you see a pretty dress you like, buy it; because you can never find a dress when you need one.” (To all the women of Lighthouse Point— you’re welcome.)

It was my mother who taught me you can pass off leftover meatloaf as pate—and I thought of her the other night, as I tried to serve some “pate” to Richard with a glass of wine.

Of course there are plenty of other peripheral lessons from my mom, such as: always have cab fare home;  everything is better with an egg; humor at the expense of others is never funny; and smaller chickens are tastier than big ones.

Naturally, I am grateful for everything my mother taught me, but I love that I can’t buy  a chicken without thinking of her. I love that when I eat cold, leftover meatloaf, I picture her winking at my dad as she offers him “pate” and a dry martini. 

My sisters and I have coined a nickname for ourselves. Whenever we realize we are doing or saying something exactly how our mother does, we call ourselves “daughter of Elaine.”

I know that I often sound just like my own mother. I say the same stuff, in the same manner, at the same times, with all the same emphasis.

Yes, I’ve become my mother—which lucky for me, is a good thing. I hope someday my kids can say the same.

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