Mamma Arigatou

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

- Excerpt from “Desiderata”

 Rocket, Hiro, me

Rocket, Hiro, me

 

This is the time of year where we celebrate mothers, and I got really lucky with mine. She is fierce, chic, ahead of her time, and inspiring. I am a daughter of this brave Japanese woman who came to the United States at the tender age of 19. She left her family home/ temple and came to California to live the dream. She thinks that Mick Jagger is the most handsome man on the planet, and it is because of her, that I became the strong, creative spirit I am today. Mamma, Arigatou.

 

 Aviva's mom

My mom at our local beach wearing a silk sari as a scarf I bought in the market in India.

 

I especially honor her fighting, adventurous, relentless spirit. Now you know where I get it.

When she and Dad moved from Silicon Valley to live nearer to us, I suggested properties that were about 5 miles away from our house. So they bought three miles away. We live in the home town where my husband grew up, so they live about 7 miles away in the other direction.

 

 Aviva's mother-in-law

My beautiful, fierce mother in law Dr. Renata Shafor -- also on our favorite beach in our hometown.

 

My mother in law -- and all her grace, and dignity -- her fighting spirit is quiet compared to my mom’s but man oh man, is she fierce. I learned to refine my whispers of ferocity from her. One of my favorite quotes from Renata:  “I went shopping today. I saw all your pillows at XXX store, don’t worry, I moved all yours to the front of the store.” How adorably delightful is that?

It's not just our biological mammas right? It’s a great moment to honor anyone that cares and supports like a mamma would. That’s why I ask “Who’s yo Mamma?”  Because, I have my Mamma, and then I have others who also fill this spirit all around me. What I realized is that life is full of different “mammas.” And they are not defined just by blood but by words, hugs, advice, wisdom, opening hearts, friendship and support. I would like to thank the many, beautiful strong mammas that have looked after me in one form or another along my journey. I have come to realize this journey of being a mother, a designer, a girlboss, a sister, a colleague, a brand, is not one walked alone. It is only possible when walked along with other superheroes around me.

 

This mamma spirit, please don’t turn it off world. In fact, turn it up!  Who’s with me?

 

 Aviva and her sons

Rocket, Hiro and I on Mother’s Day last year at our favorite beach at sunset.

I would like to share one of my favorite writings on this Mother’s Day. I love its wisdom and how it puts things into perspective. It hangs in my office and I walk past it every day as I come and go. (So that’s like 1,200 times a day! Teehee.)

The word, “Desiderata” (Latin) actually translates as “things desired.” In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share with you these words that have inspired me in so many ways along the way. I found it in a box at an estate sale buying vintage kimonos.  

 

"Desiderata"

Please forgive the picture, the document is old...And was in a box for a lonnnng time.

"Desiderata"

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

 

 Aviva at the beach with her children

Sunset at the beach in our hometown. Tiger mamma, with tiger cubs.

Special thank you to the following individuals for helping me to be the mother, woman and caregiver that I am today. I have left out many…for that, please forgive me. I welcome you to leave some of the “mammas” you are grateful for in the comments.

 

Be surrounded by light, together brighter.

Xox Aviva 

Michiko Miller

Renata Shafor

Ellen Starr

Sylvia Ochier

Shining Sung

Lois Del Negro

Kiesha Bell

Kimberly Anne Desimone

Kiyoko Oshima

Mandy Brown

David Gebhart

Diana Yeater

Joanna Stoner

Suzy Bollinger

Bethanne Matari

Miya Ando

James Wallace

Dara Liotta

Greg O’Neal

Stephanie Schmidt 

In memory of Miyako Ando, my grandmother who taught me the most and inspired the core of who I am today.


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