I don’t have many memories with my mama before the age of 12. I know they existed and my childhood was filled with long summers upstate, trips to Six Flags and the unforgettable taste of Costco ice cream at the end of a hot day. But, my most unforgettable memories with my mom happened a bit later in my life. Once the teenage angst and “you don’t get me” tantrums were over, we started to connect in a way that laid the groundwork for us understanding who we are as women and those memories are the ones that are so near and dear to me.
To paint the picture of my mama, she’s a brave, powerful and fierce woman. She’s the type of woman that will stand up tirelessly for what she believes, a take no prisoners, don’t f*ck with me type of woman. She has principles, she has pride and she is wildly intelligent. Yelena Libin immigrated to the United States at the age of 31, with two kids, no English and not a lot to her name. She had big dreams and even with little English and little resources, was able to establish a life here for her family and two kids, one of which was ‘spirited’ as they call it (hint: that was me ).
A naturally creative person, my mama was avante-garde before I knew what it meant. She would religiously take me to Daffy’s and Century21 (two designer outlet stores New Yorker’s lived by) to get Italian-made clothing when all I wanted was the Gap. Even when she had nothing, she gave all of it to her kids. What she could not give us in houses or cars or allowances, she gave in experiences.
One of the memories I’ll never forget, from when I was around 16 years old, was when my mom took me to the Joyce Theatre for a modern dance performance and then onwards to SPICE (still around to this day) for a spicy calamari salad and a glass of wine. Yes, my mom let me drink wine under 21. Call us European, but this went down quite well. I remember roaming the streets after and looking at the apartments, dreaming of what it would be like to live in Manhattan. At the time, we lived in Queens and we would get in our car, leaving Manhattan and all the glory and glamour behind, like it was a diamond earing we could try on but never keep.
Another night we went to see “Toni & Tina’s Wedding”, an off-Broadway interactive play where the actors invite you to their NYC wedding and you get to live out all of their big Italian family drama right before your eyes. It was the love of theatre, art and culture that always stuck out in my mind.
Even though my mama worked endlessly to provide for us (eventually saving up enough to buy a Manhattan apartment of her own), it was the special one-on-one nights we had together that I’ll never forget. I love you mama and will be eternally grateful for making me the person and mama I am today, and for being an even better grandma than a girl could ever wish for.
This Mother’s Day show your mom how special she is on social! From April 24 to May 10 share a Mother’s Day message, motherhood moments, photos or videos on Instagram and/or Twitter using #DearMom, #sweepstakes and #mylandsend for a daily chance to win a $100 Lands’ End gift card. Winners will be chosen at random and participants are encouraged to enter daily, because Mom can never hear enough how much she’s adored and there are winners every day.
Your time… and a trip to Hilton Head Island!! Lands’ End is offering one lucky winner the chance to win a trip with Mom through the #DearMom sweepstakes. From now through May 10, 2017, everyone can enter for a chance to win a four-day trip for two to America’s favorite modern classic destination, Hilton Head Island. This “mom and me” trip includes a stay at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, luxurious treatments at the Westin Heavenly Spa, and three days of private poolside cabana access. To enter daily, fill out the form at https://www.landsend.com/dearmom/ . Good luck and if you win have a glass of wine with mama for us!