When you look down into the face of a newborn, there is a sense of hope and wonder. You’re already thinking about who this child will be and how this person will relate to the world. As he or she grows, you witness the personality traits, intellect and style that shape how he will fit into society. After all, our goals as parents are to create socially responsible citizens who are loving and able to be a positive force in his community. I’m not overthinking this, am I? Didn’t every mom and dad do that? Recalling some of the specific details of events and decisions my children made when they were small, makes perfect sense to me today. My oldest son was about 6 years old and had asked to spend the night at a friend’s house. After all the details were hammered out, I agreed. I would drop him off later that afternoon. When the time arrived, he let me know he was ready to go. I said “okay” and that he should go downstairs. When I was ready, I looked for him. And, looked. He wasn’t anywhere to be found. We searched the house, the yard and the neighbor’s house. Nothing. I was panicked. Finally, I received a call from a very curious mom letting me know that my son had made it okay and more than a little concerned that I let him come on his own. Her silent judging demeanor was warranted since he had walked down a busy highway with no sidewalks for over a mile to reach her home — alone. It was a nice first impression. What I learned from the experience was simple. First, I definitely needed to be more explicit with instructions to my son, but I also learned that my son was very independent, adventurous, a tad bit impatient and had selective listening skills. Looking back on that day, I can see how it was a true indicator of the person he would become. Today, my son is truly his own person marching to his own independent style. He cares very little for the mainstream and simply wants to function in the world at his pace on his own time. He and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything he does or doesn’t do, but I did get the caring, loving and kind person you hope for that will definitely impact the world positively. It must be the same for Kristen Taylor, who has had the pleasure of nurturing a beautiful human being in her daughter, Taylor. She must have spent countless hours — like all of us — chauffeuring her to lessons, games and events all over town, but she also was able to see an amazing talent rising to the surface. It’s never unwarranted when kids reach the big stage and they thank mom, because without her support, would the kind of growth needed actually happen? I doubt it. However, there is no doubt that Kristen raised a truly talented young woman who will also positively impact the world around her. As my kids were growing, I always told them that I wasn’t supposed to be their friend because they needed a parent to guide the way and sometimes that would make me very unpopular. As this Mother’s Day approaches, I can appreciate all of the ups and downs I presented to my parents — my mom. I know it’s hard to believe, but I was a bit of a handful during those teen years. However, she didn’t give up on me. I bet she believed that I would eventually grow out of the shenanigans and use those traits in their positive form. Without her guidance, who knows where I would be. Thanks mom for your unique perspective, persistence and love. Women are amazing creatures. Right? If you’re paying attention to the rest of our Beauty in Bloom edition of the magazine, you’ll see an amazing woman who has been committed to her passion for decades and is still inspiring others with her selfless behavior. We’re not afraid to take the hard road while monitoring all the others in our neck of the woods. During this month’s issue, I want to take the time to thank all the women out there making a difference — you are indeed beautiful.
Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.