My Steel Magnolias :: Lessons From The 4 Women Who Raised Me

My Steel Magnolias :: Lessons From The 4 Women Who Raised Me

Any good Louisiana girl knows that the greatest film of all time is Steel Magnolias. The plot, the setting, the one-liners, the accuracy, and the actresses that portrayed the characters all made this movie what it was and continues to be to this day: a classic. While I didn’t personally know Anelle, Truvy, M’Lynn or Clairee, I am humbled to have been formed by four others that have been equally as impactful. These women have shaped the way I view my relationship to the Lord, to my husband, to my children and to myself. They have made lasting impacts that are solidified in my soul. Those women are my GG, my Maw-Maw, my momma, and my mother-in-love, Mrs. Janice. Allow me to impart some life lessons learned from each one of them in true Steel Magnolia style!

My great-grandmother, lovingly referred to as “GG,” was my first introduction to the church. On Sundays, she would pick me up for Sunday School. We would always go for lunch at Piccadilly after. She taught me the value of having a strong belief in something bigger than yourself. Even though I grew up going to a Christian school, it was GG who instilled the importance of church in me. She raised me up in my faith and made sure that I always left her on Sundays filled with the Holy Spirit. She also taught me never to go anywhere without your lipstick. “I’ve got to put on my lips!” she would always say. Afterall, “there is no such thing as natural beauty” and “it takes some effort to look like this!”

On to my Maw-Maw, Rosalie Ragusa. Now this lady right here… She was the finest of Sicilian women that I ever did meet. Growing up, you knew you were spending at least one-day of the week gathered around Maw-Maw’s kitchen table, eating spaghetti and meatballs and trying to be the loudest person in the room, because that’s how you get your point across in Italian families! She had a strict policy that she shared with Truvy Jones, that “nobody cries alone in her presence.” She showed love in so many different and beautiful ways. She sacrificed, she prayed, she made us all laugh, she held you while you cried, and she cried with you. I attribute my maternal instinct and my sacrificial love to my children to her example. She would be the one to bring over sympathy food that could be found in the “freezes beautifully” section of her cookbook. Oh, and she, too, could spot a bottle job at 20 paces.

My momma … Sherry Lynn. Pink is her “signature color,” I love her “more than my luggage” and when she smiles, it really does “increase her face value”! I am tough because of her. We always joke that if I ever got hurt in cheerleading, she would tell me to dust it off and get back out there! I grew up knowing that she was my best friend but would turn me in in a New York second if I ever did something wrong. I wasn’t getting away with anything and I knew it. I am a great football wife because she taught me to love the game long before I even met my football coach husband. I respect her for doing better for my brother and I than she had. She raised us to be respectful, honest, kind and hard-working. Any knack I may have for writing comes from her.

Finally, my mother-in-law (or my mother-in-love as I refer to her), Mrs. Janice. Most women don’t consider their mothers-in-law as someone that raised them. In my case, I can attribute a significant amount of my adult likeness to her. I was 18 when I met her. She and I have led similar married lives, so when my husband’s football career started moving us across the country, she was the one that assured me from her personal experience that this was a good thing, and I would survive and thrive! She encouraged me to become a banker, something I have never regretted once. Her personal style and her “ability to accessorize” has always made me happy! And she “doesn’t trust anybody that does their own hair.”

To wrap it all up, all of these women are strong, confident Southern Magnolias and have shaped me in more ways than I can describe. Some parting words of advice that I can give is always wear your pink lipstick and rock your personal style, smile and be kind to everyone, have empathy and respect for others, be a girl’s girl, help each other out, stand by your squad and “be too colorful for words!” And if all of that fails, and you can’t find anything nice to say about somebody, come sit by me!

My Steel Magnolias :: Lessons From The 4 Women Who Raised Me

Jessica Pigott
Hi! I’m Jess! Football wife, mother of two, LSU graduate, Commercial Banker and lover of margaritas! I love to laugh and make others laugh. I guess you could say sarcasm is my love language! I am from Baton Rouge and am currently living in Slidell with my husband and our two children. My family is my greatest joy. Our favorite past times are finding random fun to get into in Mandeville, Covington, Baton Rouge or New Orleans. I love to travel, read, write, play outside with the kids, watch football and I really love my job! I am thrilled to be a part of New Orleans Mom and promise to always give my most sincere and wittiest insight!


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