“Why can’t we be a normal family?!” I used to say this whilst writhing and sobbing on my bedroom floor. Not even my dramatic award-winning performance could dissuade my mom from tossing all of my belongings into boxes pausing only to give me an occasional glance that said, “Are you done yet?” We were moving for the fifth time, and this did not fall under my eleven-year-old definition of a “normal family.” We moved so much growing up people often asked if my parents were in the military.
My mom spent much of her career working in boarding schools originally founded by her father where she eventually became headmaster, a position that had been historically held by men. As guilty as it feels to admit, discovering I had a full-time working mom was devastating. I wanted the mom that packed lunches with neatly sliced sandwiches in color-coordinated Tupperware and volunteered to carpool and bring oranges to the soccer games. This was not my mother.
My mom’s signature phrase was, “make do” which she used throughout my childhood to remedy just about any situation. Nothing for dinner? Make do! Need back to school clothes? Make do! No Halloween costume? Make do! My mom literally dressed me in my pajamas one year, gave me a wand and called me a magic bunny. My mom could not be bothered stressing over things she thought we already had perfectly fine substitutions for. Her “make do” motto was typically followed up with her second favorite saying, “every obstacle is an opportunity” which usually stoked a fire of fury inside of me. As a kid, I saw my mom’s positive outlook as being unsympathetic to my melodramatic woes. As I mature I am very thankful that my mother never did me the disservice of believing the world might stop when something doesn’t serve me.
I have spent my life in awe of my mom’s ability to embrace any situation life throws her. My parents had been married thirty years and four years ago, my dad was killed instantly in a car accident. The impact of his loss was devastating. Getting married at such a young age my mom had been in a marriage longer than she had ever been on her own. These last few years I’ve had the opportunity to see my mom outside her familiar roles of mother, wife, educator. To watch my mom navigate the dating scene is something I never thought I would see and I was totally unprepared for. Initially, I felt a great deal of anger and discomfort. The idea of someone other than my father being her partner was unthinkable but as time went on I became inspired by her willingness to put herself out there, believing in love. I am humbled by her strength. My mom’s ability to be vulnerable, share her life - the good and the bad - has been one of her greatest gifts to me.
Who are the women in your life that inspire you? What are some of the questions you would ask them? Those familiar with Vogue’s 73 Questions (and if you’re not def check it out!) today I am introducing I AM & CO’s 30 Questions featuring my mom Laurie Hurd. Happy Mother’s Day!
1. What’s the hardest part about being a mom?
Not trying to fix things for your kids.
2. As a new mom, what were you ill-prepared for?
How weird it would feel being a mother. I was 20 years old when I had your brother. He was about a month old when we took him on our first day-trip. I was swimming in the pool and had him in a car seat in a chair. I looked over and saw that the car seat had fallen out of the chair and I had a delayed reaction, I remember realizing that’s my child and I should probably do something about it. I felt so self-conscious about my lack of experience being a mom.
3. If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?
4. If you had to get a tattoo, where/what would it be?
On my right upper butt cheek and it would say “Grit & Grace”.
5. Best gift you’ve ever received?
6. Best gift you’ve ever given?
7. Most adventurous thing you’ve done in life?
I don’t like this answer because it makes me sound like I haven’t done anything adventurous since, but in 1967 when I was 13, I camped across the country from Maine to Alaska with my twenty-year-old nanny and her teenage sister.
8. Define yourself in 3 words?
Honest. Responsible. Warm.
9. Best advice you’d give your teenage self?
Get out and explore on your own and I took that advice, just so you know!
Bold and steady.
11. If you had one superpower, what would it be?
12. What advice did your mom pass to you that has been most helpful?
Everyone bleeds the same color, red.
13. What surprised you about motherhood?
That no matter what you do your kids are going to inherit the patterns that you inherited. I passed on some of the things I really thought I was doing differently but it’s unavoidable that you will hurt your kids by some of the decisions that you make. Hurt isn’t the word because ultimately, I believe kids will transcend the mistakes you make if you honestly acknowledge them and believe you’re going to do better.
14. What was the worst fad you participated in?
15. What ways do you think I’m like you?
I think you feel things very deeply because you care so much about people and that you’re very thoughtful about the things that you do.
16. How do you think I’m unlike you?
Your intense love of dogs, you’ve never met a dog you didn’t like. Your willingness to go out on your own, the traveling you’ve done, going to different places and your inner confidence to figure it out. Your motivation to explore new things.
17. What ways are you like your mother?
She loved music,art and learning about people. She believed in the concept of the American dream. The ideals based on your work ethic and drive and motivation you can aspire to have a great life.
18. What ways are you unlike your mother?
She was an introvert and a very private person, she didn’t share her feelings easily.
19. What is your least favorite thing about yourself?
I can be very indecisive when I’m not sure of the outcome.
20. What is your most favorite thing about yourself?
Well, I think I just keep showing up, that I always strive to keep moving forward and I don’t always succeed but ultimately, I maintain a positive outlook about people and about our world even when unjust things are happening around us.
21. Who do you miss most?
22. A skill you wish you had?
I wish I could worry less about how my decisions will affect others both personally and professionally. I wish I could play an instrument really well, and that I could speak another language. As soon as I say these things I think well, what’s stopping you?
23. Best beauty tip?
Embrace what you got and make the most of it.
24. Best advice?
Play the hand you were dealt and play the long game.
25. What female inspires you most?
Susan Collins, Michelle Obama, the women in my family.
26. Rate your three kids.
Hahaha, no! You’re all the best!
27. Co-parenting how was that a challenge?
Hahahahaha, um. Your father and I had two very different temperaments and I tended to be too soft and believing and your father was too hard and suspecting.
28. Three people alive or dead that you would like to have dinner with?
I hate questions like this. Do you have answers off the top of your head for questions like this?! Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth and MLK.
29. Screw, marry, kill – LeBron James, The Rock, Ryan Gosling
Oh god I knew this was coming… Who is The Rock? Like, Kid Rock?
No, Dwayne Johnson.
But If I get to marry LeBron then what would happen to his family? Like his wife?
Mom, this is hypothetical.
I guess I’d screw The Rock, marry LeBron and kill Gosling.
30. Who is your girl crush?
Now, what’s a girl crush again?
Like, someone, you admire.
I don’t think I have one of those, is that ok?
Yes, mom, that’s ok....
I don’t like my answer to the dinner question, can I text you if I have someone else in mind?