Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My Mom


My mother died five years ago around this time of year, when Jesse was just about a month old. That is when I feel I fully became a mother, an adult, and a woman. Parents work their whole lives to teach their children; and their final gift (though painful) is always a profound lesson. Her passing left me with a legacy of strength and perspective that I did not possess before: ironically, nothing teaches you more about life than death. Mostly, you discover that you can survive and persevere-and that surprises you. You connect with an inner core of strength that you may not have been aware of-and you hold onto the knowledge that those "spiritual abs of steel" will hold you in good stead for the challenges that we all face as that damn circle of life keeps on going round.

I come from a long line of women who create. I grew up playing with dolls that had been handmade by both my Grandmothers, in houses filled with creativity and expression. We always had a Sewing Room; a magical cave of fabric bolts and glass jars of buttons, shelves of gold trim, plastic fruit, and my mother's noisy sewing machine. She would make clothing, tablecloths, curtains, wreaths, and miniature Christmas Trees decorated with various themes. In the last place we lived, it was a small room with dark paneling and massive shelving that held a huge collection of plastic boxes all holding crafter treasures. The hallway off of this room held her doll house,always a work in progress, and next to that, the living room, with paintings she and my father had made. My favorite was a large red sun coming up over the horizon.

In the basement there was an orchid greenhouse, and my Father's workshop where he made weathervanes and clocks and wooden whirleygigs. And of course, there was the ceramics studio.

One of my first memories that I can recall fully with all five senses, is making a pot on my mother's rickety green wooden kickwheel. I am three, and the sun streams at a sharp angle through the basement window and it creates a spotlight in which the dust dances like a smokey apparition. The smell is sharp--clay smells like earth and mold and metal mixed together. And I perch on her lap, my legs not long enough to reach the base, her hands on top of mine, feeling the sandy clay spin beneath my hands, feeling her leg kick the metal wheel, the excitement of making the clay rise and form and become. My mother made me a creation junkie right then and there, just as she had hooked my father earlier, and would go on to hook the entire family.

My mother had a smile that would light up the whole room. This is what they said about her at her funeral: how very much that smile would be missed. And I remember seeing it, as we all gathered as children around the coffee table when she opened a box of crayons.

People have asked me what my mother would have thought about the success I went on to enjoy as a potter. I tell them that when I opened my first store in 1995, I saved for months to be able to send a limo to pick her up with my father, and drive her into the city for the opening. My mother, meanwhile, had been saving paper grocery bags for months--and at the opening she presented them to me: a pile of used grocery bags, carefully smoothed. "For the store, for when a customer buys something." she said. I never told her we had preprinted glossy bags hanging behind the counter. I have always loved that my mother arrived in a limo carrying paper bags for me to reuse.

I did not really come to know and understand my mother until I had my own children. Then her love for me, which before had been hidden in various pockets and casings of the baggage of my childhood, became crystal clear and tangible. In the voracious love I feel for my own children, I feel the certainty of my own mother's love. This knowledge becomes a looking glass through which allows me to review the past and see it anew--accepting the fact that I had failings as a daughter, and understanding now some of the more perplexing things my mother did. I am like her at her worst sometimes: when I express anger through a cold, stoney silence, or I am quick to criticize, or walk into a public place and complain about how loud the music is. I see me at my worst: My mother was very hard of hearing and before she got better hearing aids, I would stand behind her as a teenager, cursing her to her back. I allowed her to lose me as I got older by not letting her see often enough who I was growing up to become, then I blamed her for the distance. We never spoke about her impending death, and when I visited, I used to draw analogies to some of my pregnancy symptoms to the reactions she was having to chemo: as if cancer and giving birth could be the same sides of a coin flipped by God into the air.

Ah, but she loved me so. I am sure now that she crept into my room when I was small to check my breathing. Certain that she shared the pain of every scrape, every bruise, every insult and setback. Positive that her greatest hope for me was simple happiness.

And each day I celebrate her. As Jesse and I lay on the rug shoulder to shoulder with a new pack of markers. As Annie and I make a tent out of sheets and the cushions of the couch. As each day I am lucky enough to make my livelihood in a way that is creative and fulfilling. I am not motherless, because in the end, I am mother-full; overflowing with it all. And like her, doing the best that I can.

So stop smoking if you smoke so that you can be with the people you love and who love you as long as you can, and call your mother and tell her that you love her.

9 comments:

Philfan2 said...

Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself and your family here. The way you love your children is a true testament to the love and bond you and your Mom shared; that's incredibly beautiful! And, as evident in that picture, her smile was a bright, shining light. Thanks again!

Jill said...

you amaze me. again and again.

ann-kpn said...

韓國旅遊 北京旅遊 杭州旅遊 九寨溝旅遊 旅行社 旅遊網 廈門旅遊 團體旅遊 桂林旅遊 彌月禮 彌月禮盒 股市分析 股市億萬贏家 股票行情 股票教學 8股票軟體 實驗動物 徵信 徵信社 外遇 草本茶 養生茶 有機茶 送禮 花草茶 茶包 果粒茶 水管不通 抽化糞池 洗水塔 消毒 馬桶 馬桶不通 通水管通馬桶 化糞池 抽水肥 團體服 團體服 團體服訂做 手提紙袋 手提袋 包裝紙盒 包裝紙袋 包裝盒 紙盒印刷 紙盒訂裝 紙袋工廠 紙袋包裝 紙袋印刷 漆彈 台中漆彈場 3 漆彈 宜蘭民宿 宜蘭住宿 宜蘭飯店 花東旅遊 訂房網 訂房網 網路訂房 線上訂房 肉毒桿菌

ann-kpn said...

Precision Mold 水餃 拉麵 泡菜 美食 食品批發 9團購美食 養生涼麵 麵條 麵條製作 香港自由行 澳門自由行 法律事務所 律師 律師事務所 離婚 搬家公司 Electronic PCB Flex PCB Heavy Copper PCB Industrial PCB Medical PCB Microwave PCB PCB RF PCB Rigid-Flex PCB seo 統一發票3 4月 統一發票7 8月 統一發票1 2月 統一發票9 10月 統一發票9 10月 統一發票5 6月 seo 水晶燈 流行燈飾 原裝進口燈飾 照明 洗包包加盟 洗鞋子 洗鞋加盟 洗鞋店 創業 鞋之澡堂 消防公司 消防設備 消防設備 崴立機電 機電 環保袋 環保袋 環保袋 環保袋 地板施工 超耐磨地板

ann-kpn said...

公益彩券 公益團體 捐款 健康食品 慈善 11慈善基金會 慈善機構 愛心捐款 義賣 義賣活動 全身健康檢查 肝癌 身體檢查 健康檢查 乳癌 外遇 徵信社 徵信 Odm Oem代工廠 塑膠射出 塑膠射出成型 塑膠射出模具 模具 模具設計 模具廠 室內設計 裝潢 工商登記 公司登記 投審會 會計師 會計師事務所 OBU 素食月子餐 網頁設計 網頁設計公司 seo 關鍵字廣告 網路行銷 網路廣告 水餃 台北素食餐廳 吃素 素食 素食水餃 素食餐廳 健康飲食 團購美食 素食食譜 素食料理 麻糬
團購美食 彌月禮盒 交友 相親 相親銀行

ann-kpn said...

滷味加盟 滷味宅配 滷味批發 滷味食材 滷雞翅 12滷雞腳 魯味 店面出租 店面出售 店面租賃 租店面 租辦公室 買辦公室 店面出租 皮膚科 皮膚科診所 肉毒桿菌 肉毒桿菌瘦臉 柔膚雷射 玻尿酸 飛梭雷射 脈衝光 除斑 iso iso認證 Ohsas 18001 品質管理 教育訓練 台北搬家公司 桃園搬家公司 搬家公司 新竹搬家公司 搬家公司 整形 整形 韓風整形 韓風整形 早餐店加盟 創業加盟店 創業開店 開店創業 巴里島 牙周病 牙周病治療方法 牙齒美白 植牙 植牙費用 沙發 上順旅行社 大興旅行社 五福旅行社 天喜旅行社 天福旅行社 日本自由行 日本訂房 日本旅行社 日本旅遊 日本機票 洗包包

ann-kpn said...

租台北辦公室 出租辦公室 租辦公室 辦公室出售 辦公室出租 中古車估價 中古車行 中古車行情 中古車買賣 二手車 汽車借款 借款 台北當舖 融資 票貼 當鋪 汽車借款 北區借款 DC Jack 徵信社 心絲蟲 白內障 狗皮膚病 動物醫院 腎衰竭 寵物住宿 寵物醫院 獸醫師 獸醫院 13出軌 徵信 徵信公司 徵信社 外遇 通姦 植牙 加盟 早餐店加盟 創業 化糞池 馬桶不通 通馬桶 清潔公司 中華湯包 彌月蛋糕 手工水餃 水餃 加盟創業 宅配美食 冷凍宅配 創業加盟 湯包 中華湯包 湯包 月子中心 坐月子 坐月子中心 坐月子餐 到府坐月子 坐月子中心台中 坐月子中心台北

ann-kpn said...

化妝品包裝 化妝品盒 紙盒 彩色印刷 彩盒 14藥盒 老人癡呆症 情緒管理 慈善 慈善基金會 慈善機構 婚友 婚友社 婚友聯誼 婚友聯誼社 愛情公寓 聯誼 Hook and Loop 加盟創業 健康滷味 洗包包加盟 洗鞋加盟 Injection Mold Injection molding Light guide panels Mold design Mold development Plastic injection molding Plastic injection Plastic Products apartment 日租套房 台北日租 台北民宿 酒店式公寓 汽車美容 汽車美容 汽車美容 訂婚喜餅 訂婚禮盒 喜餅 喜餅價格 喜餅禮盒 彌月送禮 肉毒桿菌瘦臉 整型診所 醫學美容 醫學美容診所 外遇 徵信 徵信社 月子中心 美國月子中心 美國月子中心 美國月子中心 團體服

ann-kpn said...

鑽石 珠寶 黃金 結婚 鑽石 鑽戒 婦產科 月子餐 抓漏 防水工程 油漆 屋頂防水 屋頂隔熱 浴室 裝潢 漏水 壁癌 舊屋翻新 不鏽鋼 不鏽鋼網 沖孔網 金屬網 金屬擴張網 菱形網 菱型網 製網 衝孔網 hand dryer 3D立體印刷