I am a daughter of the cleverest woman in the world. The most capable, most multi-talented woman in the world. My mother can sew, cook, pickle, bake, preserve, paint, knit, embroider, crochet, write stories worth reading, give speeches that move you, weave, fashion design, sculpt, screenprint, dance ballet and tap, sing, ice skate, re-upholster a chair and make a three course meal worthy of serving to the Queen – using only a lettuce leaf, a can of herrings and a sniff of mint. (just to name a few of her skills). There is nothing my mother cannot create. Indeed, whenever I see something beautiful in a shop/art gallery/museum/a Vogue magazine – I know that my mum can make the same thing. With her eyes shut. And using only her left foot.
Yes, if I rewrote the dictionary, you would see my mum’s name under the definition of “Creative”. But you would also see it sidenoted under: impatient, exacting, and downright mean. Because – it is not easy to be a daughter of the cleverest woman in the world. (As at least three other women would tell you.) Nothing you do can ever be wonderful enough – because your mother has always done it all before. Waaaaay more wonderfully than you ever could. She is impossible to buy presents for because of course she’s made everything under the sun – so how could you hope to find her something she hasn’t already imagined? You’re trying to raise five children on a tight budget? HA – she ransomed her soul to bring up SIX ungrateful little beggars AND provided for everyone while her husband studied his way to a doctorate degree at Cornell University. ( See my dad’s certificate hanging up there on the wall? It should have my mum’s name printed on it. First. In bold type.) My mum holds each of her daughters up to a very high measuring rod because thats her name right up there at the top of the rod.
Which is why I have to put on my armor of self-confidence when I talk to her about my writing ‘career’. Because…
*When I get invited to speak at a Writer’s Conference, she says “why did they ask you for? Couldn’t they find any real writers?”
* She asks me how many hits Sleepless gets and then replies, “You got 700 visitors to your blog today? Well, that’s not very many is it? I mean how many people are there in the world and THATS ALL that want to read your blog?”
* She complains about having to sell my tsunami book in her store, “I only make a few dollars on each book you know. My stocking ‘Pacific Tsunami’ is not a very lucrative investment because its not as if its going to sell as fast as a real book.”
*I tell her TELESA is the first YA urban fantasy fiction book by a Samoan writer ( or any Pacific writer for that matter) and she says, “Ha, well that’s not necessarily something to be proud of is it?”
*She wants to know how many e-books have sold since release date and scoffs, “Oh that’s probably all your family and friends buying it.”(Never mind that I only have like two friends in the universe or that NO my family isnt buying it, because news flash…’Mum have you bought one?!’ No, I didnt think so…)
*She reads the glowing Amazon reviews and rolls her eyes, “What do they know about good books?”
My mum believes that it’s her job to keep us kids humble. Make sure our feet are firmly planted on the ground. “I dont want you children to get all ‘up-yourselves’. And besides, Im just pointing the facts for you in case you missed them.”
No, I am not worried that I will ever become one of those ‘puffed up’ prideful, gloating, self-loving overachievers that strut about, Yes, Im wonderful, thank you very much. Because I have my mum. And she’s keepin it real.
I would like to accept this award by first thanking my mother for always encouraging me to do better by using reverse psychology. And I want to assure her that none of my friends or family members were voters in the Academy Awards. Honest.
15 thoughts on “The Cleverest Woman in the World.”
LOVE this post Lani 🙂 Ya mum sounds like mine…and while reading the first half of your blog, I was floating around in 'lala land'. The second half brought me crash-landing back to the 'real' world lol.
Reminds me of my mum @ keeping us humble, my mum has never once told me "you're awesome"…she's more likely to say "you could do better"…i love this post lani
hey talented beautiful cousin… I have downloaded ALL your stories and books – not because you are we are related but because you are a great writer and I love to read what you write :-)… yes your mum keeps you grounded… and she is an amazingly talented woman.- Ive always been in awe…..but you deserve the Oscar for being brave enough to write about her…she'll be glad there's only 700 people in the world reading it lol! ps. I'm gonna be there right next to her, when you get the "real' Oscar for best screenplay for best movie….alofas Sina x
Do we have the same mother Lani? No? Well, I have the Fijian version then!
Amazing piece, sounds like my Grandmother, Mother, & Aunties….the Samoan women in my family have raised me the same way….really enjoyed reading this.
Congrats on the 18,000 blog views last months Lani! Does your mum read your blog? ;P
Lani, I am in fits…:) is that not a mothers job… lol all mothers are like that… I esp love when you are a grown as lady and they still threaten to keep you humble with a salulimu lol (NOT) thanks for the laughs… Thanks to your mum for raising such a talented writer and keeping you grounded in your rise to fame hehe 🙂 love it!
I have been to your mum's store- and she is pretty damn clever! I LOVE her stuff! And I loved your book. And I am one of those people who strut around thinking "I'm wonderful- I know about books and about homewares!" LOL!!!
That's sad that we have all been raised by this kind of mother. lol I know my mother loves me to bits, but I didn't appreciate that kind of reverse psychology as an awkward teenager, or a lost young adult, or a new mother. I know she meant well, but it hurt sometimes. But she was raised the same way by my grandmother. I vow to stop this crazy cycle! I hate that I am my mother's daughter in so many ways, but I want to encourage my kids to do what they love with all my support. (wow didn't mean to sound so depressing)Anyway, your mum did succeed in raising a humble daughter, but also a great writer. The writing talent is from your hard work though, so be proud. You have fans, stalkers, and haters. Haters only because they are jealous of your talent. She also raised a brave daughter because from the sounds of your cousin up there, you might be the talk of the family after this one. lol Good luck with that!
Hahaha! It's the curse of the awesome mom! My mom is hard on me, too, and for the same reasons. It's great, but it's tough. Tough love, right? People have no idea how tough it can be!By the way, I am halfway through Telesa, and you can tell your mom I LOVE it, actually FEEL like I am in Samoa, have a HUGE crush on Daniel, cannot WAIT to know what's up with all the 'sisters', and will the kids to nap just a little more so I can read more! (Or don't tell your mom…just know that the daughter of a scary/amazing mom is telling you that you are flat out amazing ;)!)
Ohmiheck – and I thought only my mum was like this! Now i see why I have such an amazing group of blogworld friends, because you have all got double amazing mothers who (in their own very specialy ways…) 'encouraged' you to succeed. Thanks for the thoughts ladies. Hmm I wonder what the MEN Readers have to say about this topic? Is it only us daughters who enjoy these creative/challenging relationships with our mothers?!*PusiNofo and Daffy – you and me both. Nobody makes me laugh like my mum does and when we are on, we are on. But when shes on her humble mode rampage, then i have to take a deep breath and be calm.Im grateful she does say 'You can do better' …most of the time*SinaM – Thank you my beautiful and talented cousin who is so encouraging and supportive. Im very relieved to assure you that my mum doesnt read my blog. She refuses to interact with internet technology, whew! Now, we just have to make sure that none of those other daughters of hers take it upon themselves to TELL HER about this one! (and now Im going to go dream about the Oscar awards…can we be sitting next to Ryan Reynolds? Or maybe Jason Momoa?)*Saisamoa – Im pretty sure you and I come from the same family…*Thanks Lan – I think its all the tattoo stalkers reading it…hmm. No my mum doesnt read blogs. Thankfully. She said she doesnt want to see it in case Im saying things about her.*Ali – I hear you. Last month my mum called me a 'little sh**'. Im sure she wanted to slap me too. I dont think I will ever be too old to be told off by my mum.*TS – everytime i go to her shop, I hate my own house and really lust for all the stuff in Plantation House. She is truly the most creative and smartest woman I know. Im very proud of her. Even tho shes a nightmare to work for.*Reenie – I know what youre saying. Im very open with my mum and have discussed with her how Im trying to take the best of her parenting to heart with my own daughter and put aside the other bits. I think we are all like this as we struggle to be parents. we will learn from our own parents 'mistakes' and then go on to make lots of mistakes of our own with our own children. Im trying to be a more positive and encouraging mother with my own daughters, but I slip up. A lot.*Elizabeth – Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Everyone, Elizabeth is the author of 'DOUBLE CLUTCH' which i just read and raved about last week. So cool to have a real live author stop by Sleepless in Samoa! I really appreciate the feedback. I worry that TELESA will only appeal to a Samoan/Pacific reader and so Im thankful when a US (with links to Denmark!) reader takes a chance on it and is able to relate to it. And yes, 'tough love' can get some good results. Yay for tough moms the world over!
Hahaha your mother is classic! Definitely one of a kind. I worship any mother who can make a miracle out of a can of elegi 🙂
wow lani your mum sounds like shes superwoman!. what an inspiration to look up to. no matter how hard she is on you, i bet her heart is in the right place. yay for kick ass momma's who aren't afraid to be strong role models for there daughters. even if they are hard on us – its only cause they want the very best of us. loved you post lani.
There are zillion women who attended Pesega Lima over many decades now who love your mother. And we are all still using her recipes and using her home decor ideas that she shared. Many new comers to Samoa learnt where to find bargins in Samoa stores from her…..or where to obtain anything! Long may she reign as the Martha Stewart of Apia.
Hahahahaha awwww gosh Lani!!! Im always super enthralled by your writing regardless of the topic, which is why I AM SO PROUD TO SAY that I read Telesa in a little over *coughs* 10 hours!! I started at about a quarter past 8 in the evening and i could NOT put it away… Lol finished reading it at 6:34am and i continued to lay in bed fantasizing about Daniel. *giggles like a stupid love sick white grL* NO OFFENCE!! And i seriously cant wait til March next year which is around my birthday, so guess what i'll be getting? LOLOL!! Ok sorry for posting my rubbish on this blog post, but it was the first post i clicked on to read first!! LOLOLLike many other comments, my Momsz too sounds a lot like yours!!! But i love her cos of it!! Haha As condescending as she may be, she is the STRONGEST woman in my whole entire universe and one day, i wanna grow up to be as strong as her!!!YOURE AWESOME MISSY!!! 🙂
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