Mother’s Day is this coming weekend and I thought there would be no better time to share one the biggest influences on my style…my mom. Some of you may know by now that I am a native of Alexandria, but my mom and dad are both from Tennessee. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting my mother, you can still hear the faint southern drawl as she charms you with her warmth and laughter. Southern women have something distinctive about their approach to just about everything. My mom still drinks sweet tea, sets the most stunning tables, and writes not only thank you notes, but handwritten letters to her friends and family back home frequently. She may think that I don’t take notice, but I do and cherish each aspect of what has become her own unique style.
Growing up as an only child in the small town of Columbia, Tennessee (anyone out there know Columbia, TN?!), my mother was understandably doted on by her parents. My grandmother was a talented seamstress and made many of my mother’s clothes. My grandfather owned the barber shop in town. I’ve come to understand through her that the pressures are high on only children. All hopes and dreams are pinned on your every success leaving very little room for failure. Straight A student, marching band, and overall high achiever, Elizabeth Anne Lane arose to the challenges and set off to Vanderbilt University after graduating with honors from high school (where she was voted best dressed by her class!). She continued participating in the marching band, joined a sorority and ultimately met my dad through the social channels of Greek life. It was a pretty charmed experience in college with only one minor incident that caught the attention of her hometown newspaper and is documented in the archives of Sports Illustrated.
The following is an article in the Sports Illustrated Vault…
“….Miss Lane, encouraged by an enterprising band director, obliged the Vanderbilt band by becoming the first female baton twirler to represent the school since the early ’40s. When she did, though wearing a seemly habit of leotards, a great in-sucking of alumni breath was to be heard in the stands. The following week Anne was out of work, and a revered heritage was preserved.”
Loyal to their own, Columbia, TN rightfully defended my mother in her trail-blazing moment. Should we also give her credit for black jumpsuits?
Post Vandy, my parents were married and ultimately put their roots down here in Alexandria where they started a family. It’s only when you have children of your own that you come to realize the comfort of having your parents close. My mom and my grandmother made up for lost time when we would go visit Columbia however. I became their living doll as they took me to photography studios to document their work (and work it was to get one perfect curl on top of my poker straight hair…genetics only goes so far.) I believe I was 3 when they decided to give me a perm from a box in my grandmother’s kitchen.
She made us matching dresses for birthday parties and went to great lengths to make my prom dress from an image I found in a magazine…now that’s love! I give my mother credit for my intuitive sense of style and my courage to take risks. When I chose to pursue a degree in fine art rather than a traditional path of a liberal arts education, she ultimately supported my decision, albeit with trepidation on whether this path would prove a prosperous one.
The role of a mom is not always a glamorous one, but it is definitely one of the most important and rewarding. We are raising the next generation with some uncertainty of how the world will evolve in our children’s lifetime. We try to prepare them and guide them to make good choices while honoring family that paved the way. And although there’s no denying the influences that mothers have, it is innate of children to pull away and desire to define themselves beyond those influences. The best we can do is give them roots and wings. Thank you, Mom, for doing what your mom did for you, and what I hope to do for Lane–giving me both. Happy Mother’s Day!