A Mother’s Day Tribute

by Kristina Wrenn

Mother’s Day has such wonderful memories and meaning for all of us. My first real memory of Mother’s Day was right after my sister Courtney was born and we were living in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I was a precocious six and wanted to order flowers to surprise my Mommy, so I called a florist from the phone book, ordered, and told them to charge it to my Daddy. Wanting to honor my order, they asked well who is your Daddy? I gave them his name and number (as I didn’t have access to a credit card at six) and the rest is family lore that we laugh at time and again. 

Getting to know the other mothers you are soon to read about, they too would honor the spirit of a six-year old’s order for flowers, baked goods or how to help their parents blend business and culture.

There is something to be said for a person and the relationship, when as an adult you would choose your parent. I would have chosen each of mine. After losing my Daddy, Nancy Wrenn and I have become a team. I really cannot imagine my life without her and would choose her every time. She in turn had a similar relationship with her parents and I got to benefit from their relationship.

After my grandfather died my grandmother Charlie (or Mommo as we called her then), would come in December to help my mother decorate (a job that we now do for 5 straight days after Thanksgiving) and celebrate Christmas, creating what are still our family traditions. She would then stay until Spring when she would venture out to explore with her Silver Suitcase (her 30-foot airstream trailer pulled by a suburban with a 1-ton engine) and then make her way back home to Rochester, NY (though we are all multi-generation Texans) once the snow had melted.

Charlie was a marvel. She could make anything, had the eye of a divvy for antiques and could decorate on a dime making it look like she had spent a fortune. She was a collector, and I am so lucky to live with her furniture, lamps and wonderful collections. She gave us a love of lifelong learning and a curiosity for what we don’t know.

Nancy is a force. She has spent countless hours volunteering, making our community a better place, keeping orchestral music alive through sheer passion and profession, and supporting the medical community. She has a designer’s eye and though we just celebrated 30 years in our home February 25th, the look and feel work as much today as it did then.

Growing up, before licensing and product availability, they would ask me what theme I wanted for my January birthday and then they would make it all a reality. They made green felt Pinocchio hats with yellow feathers to attend the movie, small chocolate chip cookies wrapped in gold foil for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, Holly Hobby Styrofoam heads on sticks with sewn blue patterned bonnets and a pink felt poodle skirt for the 50’s Bunko Party at Michael’s Lunchbox where Nancy served the cake on roller skates! 

My mother is a skilled baker, candy maker and cake decorator. Nancy’s famous Poinsettia and Red-Hot Cookie Press Cookies (and Nannie’s Cake) are something that started with Charlie and it would not be Christmas without. I really need to make them part of my repertoire soon. There were Snowman, Scottie Dog, Strawberry Shortcake and Popped Cracker Cakes (for my 13th Snap, Crackle, Pop it’s a Birthday Sock Hop at the Petroleum Club downtown) just to name a few. My mother and grandmother always made sure that I was celebrated separately and that all the Christmas decorations were down by my birthday.

As an adult I came to realize the above outpouring of love, time and attention to detail was not just a celebration, but how they each made me feel so loved that I could tackle anything in life. Their strength and support made me who I am. We have laughed, cried and hugged up as my Daddy would say, but always wake up happy. We also can go seamlessly from unloading a half semi of treasures from my grandmother’s home to a ballgown in under an hour. Charlie said you can do anything if you have a good pair of work gloves. I always travel with a pair just in case.

When I look at my life and the fact that I don’t yet have a child of my own to perpetuate this legacy and I may not, I am fulfilled by the relationships I had and have with the chosen family and friends in my life. Nurturing and caring are not mutually exclusive to parenthood, but it sure is nice to have been nurtured by two dynamic women who loved and respected each other.

When you think of your mothers this Mother’s Day, they don’t just give us life, they give us the life we have and lead through their support and actions.