3 Things My Mom Taught Me About Love, Friendship & Cake

Celebrating with cake was always a Killion tradition

Like most women in their mid 50’s, hardly a day goes by I am not reminded of something important my Mom taught me about life but didn’t recognize at the time. She came to my rescue after a terribly bad break up when I was only 24. I was so busy taking care of this idiot, I neglected my life and my Mom found the perfect way to bring this to my attention. She wrote me several affirmations about not giving my power away. I still have her handwritten affirmations in a box and every so often I will pull them out and remind myself what she did for me. “Never give your power away!” is the one I remember the most, especially since I am now a parent of young adults. I was so busy chasing after the idea of “love” with the wrong people, I was willing to be whomever they wanted me to be. Mom often repeated this phrase, “Does he cherish you? Because you deserve to be cherished.” Maybe it was just luck, but I think also this guidance from my Mom that led me to the love of my life who does, in fact, cherish me.

Mom always had a lot of friends with a vast and colorful array of interests. She made friends easily and was often that friend who made the plans and initiated getting everyone together. The planner, organizer, reasonable “sounding board” friend. She treated her friends well and as she got older, I noticed she put effort into cherishing them. When she belonged to a quilting group, one time she brought every friend a flower and told them she wanted to tell them how much she enjoyed them while they were alive and together. When she saw someone she thought would be a good friend for me, she would tell me, “I would cultivate that friendship if I were you.” She cultivated a very important friendship for me that has sustained and brightened my life. A cousin I had never met reached out to her many years ago because she had questions about our family and she trusted Mom to be open and honest. When she asked Mom which daughter she thought she would get along with best, Mom pointed her in my direction. So my first cousin, (named after my Mom), began periodically writing to me. Today she is one of my closest friends and I cherish her. This is solely due to my Mom. Another gift I will have for the rest of my life from her.

Finally, my Mom instilled in me an unabashed love for cake. I cannot think of a time I visited her these past 35 years since I moved from home when cake was not a central part of our celebration. Her New York cheesecake was phe-nomenal! I recently made a cookbook for my children with many of Mom’s notable recipes so they will have them to cherish and pass on to the next generations. Dad often marveled at how much Mom could eat (he loved it!). When she made one of her cakes, however, you had to get in line behind Dad (this was simply understood by everyone in our family). Today, I am proud and grateful my Mom passed along to me a healthy appetite and appreciation for home baked desserts. Wasting time on food shaming is pointless. Mom taught me to cherish myself.