For as long as I can remember, my mom was constantly showing her amazing care, love and support for others. She would share it with all of us - four kids and her husband - on a daily basis. Being the oldest, I had the privilege, though I did not see it at the time, to be "volunteered" at a lot of functions, fundraisers, neighborhood programs and campaigns to help the latest "cause" my mother was supporting.
To share a few of my early childhood experiences, the following are causes I joined as my mother's daughter:
One fundraiser in particular I will never forget was the Infant Welfare Fundraiser I was asked to dance with my mother and a bunch of women on stage. Before hundreds of people - in a top hat, tails and a dance cane -- we danced to "It's Up to You, New York, New York." At the time, I was scared, nervous and somewhat humiliated, but now looking back, it was completely invigorating and a memory I treasure to this day.
Another fond memory was when they opened the new women's locker room and lounge at the local YMCA. My mom was a huge advocate in getting this project done, even picking out the wallpaper in the locker room! Of course, there was a fundraiser for this project so at age 10, I was in pig tails and shiny shoes trying to sell raffle tickets to a very interesting crowd? A difficult job at the time is now used as an amazing learning experience that has taught me to have good looking young adults with personalities sell raffle tickets at my fundraisers!
The renovation of LaGrange Memorial Hospital was the first time I ever wore a hard hat! I'll always remember standing next to my mom while decision making was in progress, surrounded by guys working on scaffolding higher than I could see. Months later at the ribbon cutting, I watched as my mother, a volunteer on the board, helped cut the ribbon. Pride and awestruck love came over me as I watched her, and noticed everyone there watching her too. I could tell by their smiles and their eyes that she had touched many people with her constant love and support.
We can't forget her loyal involvement as a mom while we were kids: "Art Lady" at my school (sometimes quite embarrassing), but nonetheless endearing and done with total love; assistant coach on our swim teams, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the list goes on.
She was a loyal supporter of many organizations, from the American Cancer Society to the American Heart Association. You name it and she was involved in it. Therefore, on some level, so was I.
My mother's financial and social support of our church and the missionaries were so inspiring to me, I actually served in New Mexico as a missionary at age 13. This experience - rebuilding a school and community - was life changing, and would have never have happened if I had not seen and heard about missionaries and their work from my mom. As an adult my dream is to be able to be a missionary again, and in fact, I'm looking into it right now!
As I grew up I watched my mom work day and night, not only taking care of a family and doing an amazing job, but also being a part of the community, her church and numerous "causes" throughout her life. Her heart was the biggest I have ever known and it showed inside and out to all those she encountered
Amazing and ironic that big heart is exactly what she died from; a sudden massive heart attack when she was only 63. The hardest days of my life happened after that, but in those days I also vowed to my mother and God that I would always do my best to help others. I knew I could never fill her footsteps, nor do I want to, but I will persevere with her inspiration and her loving ways that live within me.
As Mother's Day approaches, it is a bittersweet time for me and my brothers and sister. It's a time to remember all she did, and that brings smiles and laughter and love to our hearts. But, it's also a time to miss her, as we do every day, and wish she was still here to hold us and love us and share her unbelievable gift of giving with us continuously.
I give all the credit of anything I have ever done right and good to my mother. For without her, my life would not have been half as amazing.
It may not be your mother that inspired you to do good, it may be a friend, a sibling, a loved one, or someone you have never met. Whoever it is in your life, praise that person, love that person and emulate their passion and love for giving back in your own life.
But for those of you, like me, who are inspired by your mother each day take the time to let her know. Please hug her hard, love her much and never stop telling her how special she is.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you inspiring moms out there, and to those of you who are an inspiration to others, keep it up and enjoy each day!
- Judy Phillip
Judy Phillip, along with Tom Duffey, co-founded Your Cause Marketing Edge in January, 2012. Since then, the local entrepreneurs have been instrumental in helping businesses and nonprofit organizations forge successful and profitable relationships with one another. For more information, visit www.yourcausemarketingedge.com