Meet Melissa! - Westport Moms

How old are your kids and how long have you lived in Westport? Ready for this…I have lived in Westport for 35 years…but for some reason still don’t tell people I’m from Westport! I have six children ages 23, 22, 14, 13, 10, 9, and DOUG, who is the most rambunctious child of all!
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time? There is no question that the hormonal teenage years have been the most challenging for me. There is nothing like basking in the glow of approval when your kids believe you are their sun, moon and stars and everything you do and say they absorb with rapt attention. And then one day without any warning whatsoever, everything changes and they look at you entirely differently. Suddenly you are no longer their “everything” and that blind adoration has all but disappeared. And all I kept thinking (and saying) was “but wait, what’s going on here…I haven’t changed!!!” The only mindset that has helped me get through these periods (I’ve had 4 with 2 to go…) is to remember that, “this too shall pass” and stay the course. Never personalize it, feel sorry for myself and make it about me, never get emotional, and never overreact. And try to understand that these children we created are now a churning cauldron of hormones and their reactions and comments have very little to do with their parents and everything to do with the way they are feeling inside!!!
What is your favorite family activity to do in Westport or the surrounding towns? Just last night we engaged in our favorite family Westport activity…which is to go to the beach and watch the sunset. We are SO fortunate to have a beautiful and accessible beach RIGHT IN OUR TOWN, and there is nothing better than jumping in the car after dinner, grabbing dessert at Joey’s, and feeling that amazing sea breeze as we watch the sun set.
What was your most memorable family vacation and why? I have been so very fortunate to have vacationed in some of the most beautiful places in the world. But when I truly think about what has made those vacations so special it actually has very little to do with WHERE we were, but more about the very similar CIRCUMSTANCES and FEELINGS during those trips that forged memories that will stay with me forever. And interestingly, those aspects are the SAME throughout scores of trips. They are: being with all my children, Doug and other fun family members, laughing hysterically at their silly antics, music always playing with loud group singing, being outdoors with beautiful scenery and a refreshing breeze, sitting around a long table with delicious food served family style, and unique cultural experiences when we can ALL, regardless of a wide age span, engage in something new and different together (like learning to salsa dance in Cuba!)
What is the best white lie you have told your kids? Our kids have been desperate for years to get a dog, so Doug and I finally decided to surprise them and actually bring home TWO DOGS. The process has taken a few months…so during that period I continually white lied to them when I adamantly told them to stop asking because it would be VERY unlikely we would ever get a dog!!!
What is your proudest mommy moment? My proudest mommy moment is looking at my two adult children and hoping that I had a small part in raising these responsible, caring, independent people who are passionate about their work and have the ability to impact the world to leave it a different place than when they entered it!
What’s your favorite app right now- for you- and for your kids? NA—don’t use any apps—only low tech for us!
What’s your can’t live without beauty product? I’m virtually a no makeup/products kind of gal…but I walked into an adorable gift shop on Main Street in Park City, Utah last summer and caught a whiff of the most beautiful scent! I followed my nose to an intriguing display of a small batch perfume company called Library of Flowers, and was moved to buy one of their crème scents called Willow and Water. The smell was subtle but so intoxicating I could barely contain myself. I wear it every day and it makes me feel as if I am running through a meadow with wildflowers all around me!
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family dinner? A night out with friends? NA—we love to find obscure restaurants in remote towns so we rarely eat out locally!
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I am very, very frugal and the quintessential bargain hunter and love nothing more than finding a great deal! I will also happily use clip and use coupons when not in the company of my children who ridicule me to no end for doing so!
If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted – what would you do? Although I am a total introvert and largely repressed, for some reason over the last year I have been having this fantasy of gathering all my free-spirited family and friends, adorning a long, flowy skirt and flowy hair, and hosting the most amazing dance party ever with all my favorite music from the disco era to today—and in the midst of “getting down” lifting my head to the see utter joy awash everyone’s face as they let loose with pure abandon.
What is your most marked characteristic? I’m not sure I’m successful at it, but my goal in adult life (although easier said than done!) has been to accept myself completely for who I am, and to always be brutally honest, authentic, approachable, humble and real.
What do you most value in your friends? I have very few close friends and treasure them like precious jewels. That is because it takes me quite a while to totally trust people. My close friends and I give equally to each other, and they are wise, honest, kind, sincere, direct, FUNNY, self-deprecating and truly care about me for who I am!
What is your greatest regret? I have always lamented that I am not immortal and won’t be here to see and experience all the incredible events in my children’s and their children’s lives eternally.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? I would definitely tell them to savor the seemingly little moments in life each and every day, because one day they will realize that those were the moments that truly mattered most!
How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? The irony for me is that I am doing today what I did my entire childhood…using my imagination to create products! But getting here came from reaching the point where I was so unhappy and unfulfilled doing things I didn’t want to be doing just for the sake of convention and status, that Doug and I knew we had no choice but to step off the treadmill and follow our hearts to a more meaningful vocation. And that is what we’ve done ever since. We are going on nearly 30 years of following our dream and passion and doing what we love!

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