Our wise D Moms Daily contributor Gailt Birk recently encouraged us to begin an ongoing gratitude practice. So in that spirit, we present some giving of thanks the day after Thanksgiving. It comes in the form of this remembrance by our immensely lovely and soulful intern, Margaux Anbouba, of her mother Kim.
And as a side note: Margaux, you are an amazing lady. I know your mother had to be bursting with pride that she raised such a thoughtful, kind, and loving daughter.
By Margaux Anbouba
This Thanksgiving the thing I am most thankful for is the time I spent with my mother, Kim Anbouba, because this year the holiday falls on what would have been her 56th birthday.
Sadly, this will her first birthday and the first holiday season I have celebrated since she lost her battle to colon cancer on December 29, 2011. The holidays have now become a time of reflection – of the happy times I spent with my mother, of how hard she fought against cancer, and, most important, of the amazing impact she left on the lives of those she loved.
There are so many lasting things that my mother taught me, including how to care for others through example and unconditional love. She loved to surprise her friends who were going through a hard time with baked goods and an encouraging note – something that I still practice to this day with her top-secret chocolate chip cookie recipe.
But the thing I am most grateful for is that my mother taught me to be truly confident in who I am. “Beauty comes from loving yourself and being confident. . . but it’s always fun to have some accessories to help,” she’d say with a wink.
She graduated from North Texas State University with a fashion merchandizing major and sold the clothing she made in major stores across Dallas. But as a child, I was my mother’s favorite “accessory.” She designed and sewed the majority of my clothing until mid-elementary school. Even after I began dressing myself, she always encouraged me to dress in the style I wanted, because she believed clothing was more than just something a person wears; it was a form of self-expression.
While fashion is something that many people consider frivolous, to my mom, dressing up was a way of reassuring herself she was going to be okay. Her own outfits were daily works of art. After her diagnosis, there would be days when she wouldn’t feel up to leaving the house. Eventually, she bought and began to dress a mannequin, Penelope, with the outfits she would have worn if she had been able to leave. Whenever she did leave the house, like the days that she had chemotherapy, she made sure she was always impeccably dressed.
When I asked her why she put in the effort to dress up to only see doctors, she told me that it made her, and those around her, feel better. Even when she was in pain or tired, through dressing herself up, she knew that she looked nice, and it made her feel better. I’ve carried on this spirit in my own special way – whenever I am attending an event that I wish she was at or want to feel a connection to her, I wear some of her favorite clothing pieces. For me, these items embody her spirit and remind me that she is with me always.
I am so thankful for my mother’s daily encouragement to be myself – because of it I’m pursuing my dream to become a journalist. Even though I was only able to spend a short time with her, the impact she left on my life molded me into an outgoing, fashion-loving young lady. I know that I’ll carry her memory with me for the rest of my life, wearing my highest heels and making her proud.
I Love you, Mom.