Queen Mother Tutti Frutti

My mother in law passed away this week. It wasn’t unexpected.

We are blessed with some wonderful memories.

And like many families, some not-so-wonderful memories.

I am struck by many things. The power of words. Memories. Details. 

Years ago, my mother in law left a voicemail for my husband and I, after her husband, my father in law, had elective surgery. She was tired. I call it ‘punch drunk’--not an ounce of liquor required and everything becomes funny because you’re simply exhausted. Her message: “this is the queen mother. Tutti Frutti.”  And she rambled on about thrones and taking care of the King Father.

I played the message for Jay, my husband who is, of course, the Queen Mother’s son, when he arrived home. Hilarious. We’d never heard her refer to herself as either the 'Queen Mother' or 'Tutti Frutti'.

Christmas was months away. I hatched a plan.

I found a designer to come up with a QMTF logo. The logo was revamped and revised time and again with  help from the Queen Mother’s Grandson, Justin.  Our business had t-shirts printed. Full, glorious color was the only option for the Queen Mother Tutti Frutti. And pens and notepads. (Owning a promotional products company sure helped!)

The Queen Mother’s daughter, Laura, put her crafty skills to work and came up with a pillow, crown and scepter. I think we were all channeling our childhoods.

The family gathered at our house and proceeded with Christmas celebrations. Then, all of us headed to the master bedroom closet which was thankfully large--I know--we are nuts--and put the t-shirts on (well, except for one unruly subject!) and paraded back out to crown the Queen Mother Tutti Frutti. The Queen Mother was hilarious--she was such a good sport. She had no idea that we even remembered her crazy voice mail or that we had hatched such a plan. 

See her smile? She was probably thinking to herself that she ruled a kingdom of nuts. She had notepads and pens for years and those t-shirts are still used as night shirts by several of us in the family. (I think there are days we all feel a little Tutti Frutti ourselves!)

The lessons I share?

    • Pay attention
    • Little things make a big difference
    • All the memories matter
    • You won't remember 'the stuff' 

It’s connections that count. It’s knowing someone’s heart. It’s really listening when someone is talking. It’s turning off the tv or putting down a book to really ‘tune in’. It's seeing past the "I'm ok" answer. It's knowing what makes someone laugh or cry. It's a hug. It's being vulnerable. 

I say all the time in my business life that ‘details count’. Even more so in life.


Author: Vickie MacFadden--owner of PROMOrx.com I'm not in the picture above--I was the Queen Mother's official photographer. And as you can see, the 'King Father' was not being a particularly good subject of the Queen's as he didn't don his t-shirt.

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