gmhTODAY 25 gmhTODAY April May 2019 - Page 65

A Mother, Her Daughters, and Horses with Cecilia’s Closet; with the Kiwanis club Holiday Lights parade, scholarship program and other Kiwanis programs; as well as Rock the Mock, and Read Across America, to name many. She was named Woman of the Year by the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce in 2017. Dave is a former president of the Morgan Hill Rotary Club, and he used to run its annual golf tournament. “My family has always talked about serving,” Dave said. “When we moved down here to Morgan Hill, my wife and I fell in love with the community. This is such a great small town, and we knew there was a lot we could do to give to the town. Getting involved opened up more doorways to serve better.” “We were sort of on parallel paths,” Mary Lou said. “I joined Kiwanis to learn about the community when I moved down here.” Dave still remembers the moment his mother won Woman of the Year. “She’s not good at taking praise, so I was very proud that she was being honored.” So how did this mother and son stay so close over the years? Mary Lou said it came down to understanding and listening. Dave feels especially bonded to his mother because of a difficult time in his youth. “When I was young and I had a learning disability, my mom fought to make sure I got help. That was huge,” he said. He learned two big lessons from his mom: “Dedication to family and doing what’s right.” Both of them also acknowledge the freedom that can take place in the parent-child relationship when children become adults. “I’m not responsible for training him into a good upstanding human being,” Mary Lou said with a laugh. “I think you enjoy each other more when they’re adults.” She added, “I listen to him and his family as friends as opposed to instructing him. At some point you have to accept your kids are their own, allow them to be free and explore, which is a very tough time.” As Dave is also a parent, to two children, a son, age 17, and a daughter, age 15, he related to his mother’s perspective. “There’s a transformation where you go from educating your child when your child is trying to find their own identity, to appreciating the person for who they are, as their own individual. That’s a huge thing.” Mary Lou added, “No one makes it through life unscathed, but being able to accept our kids’ journey is important.” And while there have been and will always be challenges, they both make time to see each other every week, over meals and events with Dave’s kids. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Susan Crenshaw, Caitlin and Kristen Heinrich F amily-run businesses can be tricky for some families, but not for Susan Crenshaw, owner of Ligara Farms, an equestrian training and boarding facility in Morgan Hill. She has the help of her two daughters, Caitlin Heinrich, age 34, and Kirsten Heinrich, age 29, and couldn’t imagine running her business without them. That’s a big compliment coming from a self-made woman who built her business from the ground up to become one of Northern California’s most well-known and respected trainers in the hunter/jumper discipline. Susan and Caitlin spend their work days together providing horseback riding instruction to clients, training and caring for the nearly 40 horses boarded at their facility, and many other tasks that go along with the business of horses at a competitive show barn. Caitlin is director of operations, and Kirsten deals with the human resources side of the business. Kirsten also lives with her parents at Ligara Farms to make coping with her epilepsy a little easier. Kirsten said, “If you live and work with your family you typically want to kill each other after an hour, but my mom and I get along really well. She’s probably my best friend.” Caitlin said that communication with her mom has gotten better and better over time despite some rocky years when they first started working together. “We’re good at bouncing ideas off each other,” Caitlin said. “She’s got a wealth of knowledge and I am good at organizing, so we complete each other. All three of us fit april/may 2019 65