As I plan my mother's memorial service in Pennsylvania, I am keenly aware of who she was.
My mother was what a child might call "fancy." She always looked impeccable - clothing, makeup, hair always perfectly coiffed. She kept her environment the same way - tasteful, elegant and organized - her home and her office. As for entertaining, don't even get me started. She was Martha Stewart on steroids (without the cooking part - she was great at ordering gourmet food). Every table was impeccably set and guests always left with a little gift from her.
The lovely part about my mother was that her fanciness never made anyone feel lesser or unimportant. She always made sure everyone felt welcome at her table in jeans or an evening gown. She accepted everyone without judgment, and even made everyone feel a little bit fancier.
I am not naturally fancy, more at home in flip-flops and a T-shirt, I've never once considered if my purse matches my outfit or if my throw pillows are getting a little tired. But as her muse, my mother made me fancy at times. She bought me pretty dresses, helped me decorate my house (even when I didn't exactly ask for her help), and always helped me throw the most beautiful and festive holiday parties (no paper plates allowed). So, now, who am I without her?
I've pondered this question for several days now as I plan a reception for her memorial service that will tastefully honor her grace and style, but will also reflect who I am, the hostess, her un-fancy, no-nonsense daughter.
It's funny for all that my mother and I had in common, our quirky sense of humor for example, our voracious appetite for reading, this was one area where we parted ways. I often wondered what she thought of her practical, jean shorts wearing hippie daughter. I wondered if she thought, how did this happen? How did I get her instead of a "fancy" daughter? But in my heart, I know, my mother never thought that way. She showed me through her actions that she loved me despite our differences, that fanciness and being a hippie could co-exist.
I know that moving forward, I will continue to be who I have always been, but in homage to my mother, I may be a little bit fancy every now and then.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.