Cynthia Rowley is very cool. Her daughter Kit Keenan is unsurprisingly very cool too. They’re both smart, well dressed, and capable on a surf board, which makes me admire and also envy them. Perhaps cooler than all of this is the fact that their mother-daughter dynamic is deeply rooted in friendship, full of inspiration and adventure, today they’re sharing the lessons they’ve learned from each other too.
I loved the name Kit, I thought in a secret way “keep it together” was something I might have to think about. As she grew up, I worried that it would be more like “keep in touch.” I hoped I’d have a friend for life and someone I could pass along all my worldly wisdom to. I was so wrong. We are best pals, but the learning part is sometimes working the other way! For Kit, navigating two households as a small child, she became the consummate diplomat, something I have never been good at. Her diplomacy taught me to walk away from a conflict, take a deep breath, and work it out. I’ve used this simple technique so many times I can’t even count, from restaurants to raconteurs I stop and think WWKD?
Now all of this might make you think the the kid is reserved, but if I’ve learned anything else it’s to have an up-for-anything attitude which is exactly what I crave. “Let’s drive race cars tonight.” “Should we go scuba diving in arctic water in dry suits?” Sure!
I guess I should have known this was a kid designed for adventure when I heard her first word, I’ll never forget it. I was running late for work one morning, carrying baby Kit on one hip, I reached my arm up in the air and heard a little voice cry out, “Taxi!!”
One of the hardest parts of moving to LA from NYC this year was moving away from my mom. She has always said that when she held me for the first time she said to herself, “I am going to have a best friend for life.” This statement could not be truer. The list of things my mom has taught me could span miles, but I think the most important things are characteristics I see in her that organically are reflected in myself. One of these is a love for unpredictability and adventure. My mom and I love to dare each other to step outside of our comfort zones- like when she convinced me to go hiking in the Himalayan mountains or when I persuaded her to paddle out in overhead surf in Kauai. We are also both very competitive which gets us into crazy positions – like in Iceland when neither of us really wanted to go snorkeling in arctic waters but neither of us would let the other wuss out. Lastly, my mom has taught me to never take no for an answer. Though this can be challenging at times – whether “no” is coming from someone else or myself, it is one of the most important lessons that has enabled my mom to do so much within and apart from her career that I try to keep in mind if I ever feel unmotivated or discouraged.