Category Archives: mother

mothers

 

1-IMG_5448The goodbyes were odd and sudden. I told him, Jon, goodbye by the “R” train near the WTC Memorial and her, Elizabeth, near a red prep kitchen on the outskirts of Provincetown. Done.

2-IMG_5478I drove away with emerging tears and questions from the heart. Oddly, I drove to Plymouth Rock only to find the Mayflower missing and in Connecticut until June being repaired or refurbished. I saw “The Rock” but got no sense of the Pilgrims’ long arduous nearly impossible journey, instead everything was pristine and “touristy”, I was disappointed. The town is beautiful, however, as are all of the New England towns hugging the coast…quintessential.

     magnolia1Just as quick as my challenging good byes, spring appeared as I crossed the Mason Dixon line. Like a switch was flipped, I left the farm houses and silos in Penn’s woods and found the lushness of the trees in West Virginia, I was in the South once again.. Life is fleeting says Mother Nature and ever changing says she again. I must listen, for there are the answers. We have to go with the seasons of our lives, we have to change constantly or our resistance will cause us much dread and heartache, this I know. So, I traveled for 3 days, many latitudes, nearly all of the Satellite stations and a spectrum of emotions…I was exhausted.

Finally, home. I found little piles of her throughout the house. I knew this reentry would be difficult, I knew her perfume would linger amongst discarded wardrobe in nearly every room (she is a bit messy), it did and I felt sad. Again, I would miss her.

In summary, of this nearly 4000 mile journey, I have learned that travel broadens us, it allows us to understand and somewhat feel how others live while, ironically, helps us to understand our lives better and perhaps appreciate our latitudes more. And on the topic of good byes, they are hard, especially if you are the one being left. You walk into a house that was once filled with family and now, for me, the last one leaves and only the memories, castoff personal items and empty childhood rooms that await the next visit remain.

 I will not end this expedition on such a melancholy note, for I am happy about the journeys of their youth, journeys that I can witness and need to be taken, experiences that will become their lives. I watch as they write their stories.

 I do enjoy this space on the sidelines after all of the years and emotion within the “game”. It is a passive place I choose, a place to watch from and hopefully enjoy as children emerge into the people we cannot just love, but can connect to in another phase.

So, I will try my best to follow the laws of Nature and bend and grow and change as I prepare to embrace and welcome the times ahead and leave the times behind me safe within my heart.

An early Happy Mother’s Day to all of you…motherhood is a unique and sometimes very difficult journey but we are all part of a special group with the most important job in the world to do. Remember to bend, change and adapt just as Nature reminds us to do with each new season. Nothing will remain the same. If we stand still, we will be overcome and if we resist, we will be broken. xo

FullSizeRender (16)a special gift from my friend, Tilly Strauss. check out her blog…@tillystudio.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

it’s all okay…

iphone 574I read some of the Mother’s Day post yesterday on FB and found it nice that people could express publicly their love and devotion for their mothers. I also couldn’t help but think about the people who felt loss or void on this day. This “holiday” leaves me feeling ambivalent.

Either way, it “is what it is” as they say. My day was wonderful and for that I am grateful.

iphone 572Back to ordinary things…my bees. I have just added the second super and from the look of things my queen bee is very busy laying eggs – thousands of bees have taken residency in Elizabeth’s butterfly garden. My hens are laying and I am picking 2 quarts of blackberries each day – those early spring rains were good for something. All of the above spell some sort of happiness for me, simple and totally procured by nature. I have been stung twice so far, hurts but it’s okay. It’s worth it to be able to look inside of their secret world where everything, however random it appears, is governed by a natural force that gives much purpose to these little creatures.

I am still busy planting my pantry, a place to go for food that I know is clean. A disturbing thought crossed my mind yesterday however, a hurricane could run through my orchard and destroy all of this effort and years of growth. Fruit trees are shallow rooted and so easy to topple (hmmm, this statement could apply to many things). It would be a tough situation for me…but risk is something I choose to take. Anyway, whatever season it is, is my favorite and this spring is not disappointing.IMG_0652

A good friend of mine gave me a small gift long ago when I was actively raising my five children. I was busy like those bees but instead of seemingly random behavior it actually was random – constant movement going in all directions, reacting to life reacting to the moment – somewhat out of control. Anyway, she became a mother a bit ahead of me and knew firsthand what was happening inside my house and inside of myself. One random day, she thoughtfully brought this little refrigerator magnet to me that said “children and gardens need tending each day”. It turned the page for me…that simple thought put my commotion under the heading of normal and told me there were many mothers and others out there that, some days, they seemed to be like gerbils on a treadmill, getting to completion only some of the time but, it was ok. Just tend to your children and your “garden” each day and one day you will look at both and smile…a belated Happy Mothers and Others Day to mothers and “gardeners” who have arrived at this point of realization and feel contentment from their huge and sometimes unnoticed efforts. It all starts to make sense…somehow.bee keepera

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it comes and goes

8470_10150340493549959_1292572160_n written on June 9, 2013 🙂

It’s over now; it’s the fabled “day after” and I am left with surges of melancholia and stretches of sadness – the “company” is gone and the occasions are over. It was all very anticipated  – Elizabeth’s graduation from high school { following 28 consecutive years of having one to  five children in school}, a first time visit from Julie, Matt and Drew coming home after being gone 17 months, the end of yet another school year for me , Skip reaching the last year of his fifth decade and me, soon after – it was a lot of stuff, at least for me, me who likes the day to day of life plain and simple and the meaning of life deep and apparent.

 I am creating this entry for me – I suppose this is where I think to go when I am a bit taken over by soppiness, here at the keyboard pecking at the still unknown order of the keys as I reel into a journey of sentimental thoughts and nostalgia. I don’t feel comfortable bothering anyone with my overzealous sentimentality but, then again, there may one of you that gets it, that gets this somewhat disturbing part of motherhood that allows you to remember all of those heart tug moments that take you to these places of tears and longing as you torture yourself with memories of holding tiny hands and rocking them to sleep, so I will write and post; here it is in all of its gooey glory. The bonus for me is that by the time I toil over finding the right keys, I never learned to type, and have thought a million mushy thoughts, I will be “okay” {until next time}.

The drive home from Louis Armstrong Airport yesterday was the beginning of this emotional binge I am currently on. I was very tired, however, and this exhaustion kept those sentimental thoughts at bay all of last night – there was no room for any contemplation of that sort. This morning however, I made the trek upstairs and went into the twin’s empty room and the first thing I saw was a pair of black socks on the floor…years before I would have possibly, but probably not, gone downstairs and said something like, “ You need to pick up your dirty socks  guys”, this morning they were a shrine – a memorial of their brief but wonderful visit, a visit that put them back in their beds, their clothes on the floor, the sounds of the TV seeping through the looseness of the door, and a “Good morning mom” the next day. Funny how those socks, a one-time source of minor irritation, became the catalyst that began this plunge of my heart.

I went outside and went with it – I picked a magnolia and I let its fragrance remind me of the summers we spent here and of the seemingly endless days of their childhood, the muddy boots, the skinned knees, stepping in red ant piles and water hose rescues, the rainbows over the field, and the afternoons that seemed to go on and on. There were a few berries left of the bramble of thorns and dried canes and they reminded me of the cobbler I made for all of them, my visitors, and the many others I made throughout the years. I walked around and I thought of it all and appreciated the gift I had just received, their company. IMG_0198

It seems that while these “things”, these events, are happening you are so overcome with the physical that the emotional trails behind and goes unrealized.  When the last one is gone, when the plane disappears into the clouds or the tail lights turn the bend, the emotional part quickly appears…and there you are feeling like I do now. There is much joy in my heart and I would be ashamed of myself to ever complain – it is not those feelings of sorrow or loss – it is just those feelings you develop with time, with age – this understanding that time is so fleeting and these moments, moments like I have just been granted, are indefinable and precious.

Anyway, I will end my sentimental journey here, at least for now. I have more socks to wash and flowers to pick and most importantly because I, like you, have been gifted with the most wonderful children in the world, I will spend the rest of my day in gratitude and ponder a funny but, sadly, true thought written by Holbrook Jackson: “A mother never realizes that her children are no longer children.”

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the journey

I checked the almanac yesterday and realized that soon it will be Groundhog’s Day. I can’t seem to overcome this feeling anxiety caused by the rapidness of life. Wasn’t it just Christmas?
I love this time of year – this little pocket of time that is a teaser to spring, at least down here in the Deep South. First, there is Groundhog’s Day and then Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day capped off with St Patrick’s Day. I suppose I am fond of these days because the retailers haven’t yet found too many ways to commercialize them – they are certainly working on it but it’s still in moderation.
I, as I have mentioned before, had a wonderful mother and one of the wondrous things about her was her earthiness – her ability and desire to make do and to create from found objects. Preparing for a holiday was never about a trip to Hobby Lobby – it was a scavenger hunt through seldom used drawers and cupboards and a possible trip through the woods – gathering things to create. I try to remember the “things” she made but I cannot – I just remember the journey.
 In saying that, I think of the money spent on all of those “things” (made in China) that serve little purpose because there was no journey attached to them. It is cliché to write about the “journey” – like most things in our culture, it has become a catch phrase and becoming quickly overused and abused but I dare to use it here, for I speak of the physical journey – the walks through the woods, the rummaging through the house and never, the trip to town. I place so much value in that example – I regret to say that I have not always followed in her conservative footsteps but I have never forgotten the lesson and I use this post to share it with you.Perhaps it will motivate you to think more of your natural resources and to tap into your creativity – it’s there for you to enjoy and share. 

The Full Wolf Moon will rise this Saturday night and this cold and unhurried month of January will end soon after. The almanac is forecasting a chilly start to February in my area and as uncomfortable as cold weather is, it has purpose.
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auld lang syne

 

Ok, I’m going with, I’m posting the syrupy mawkish mess of diction that describes how I feel right now and judging from some of the FB entries, I am not alone, some of you guys are feeling “it” too. I guess it’s part of the “seasoning” package.  “It” all started yesterday morning; these surprise feelings that come with being human. I walked into the living room, the front room, the room where Christmas morning happens and “it” was over. It was already gone except for a few boxes to recycle and some red ribbon I wanted to keep. The people were gone; people that came from faraway places and places nearby, the Christmas lights on my dried out tree were even over, a fuse blew. The day went on and the evening came and I found myself in my studio painting and listening to Classic Country on the Dawg (just like I do every Saturday night) and the Highwaymen came on, Willie started singing and I suddenly realized my four sons are gone too. I know that sounds really silly because they left a long time ago but it was one of those moments where something that seems very obvious isn’t really and all of a sudden it registers.It re-registers with the heart, this thing that the mind has known for a while, now the heart knows and it doesn’t have the linear reasonable thoughts of the mind. It doesn’t care that that’s how life progresses and all things are as they should be – scheduled and precise, no the heart doesn’t think those things, it just feels those little bits of sadness when a mom realizes her children are all gone, even though they physically left a long time ago.

 


sweetheart rose from my mother
 These feelings transcend time; they just show up in seemingly random spots triggered by something – a fragrance, a picture, a conversation, or a Willie Nelson song. Then the heart takes a tumble and there you are in this sentimental mush missing someone. I think it’s necessary though, this random passage through mush,because I want to remember all of the people in my life past and present and this time of year is a hotspot. My mother died on August 20, 1997 – right before the holiday madness. I thought I would not be able to get through Halloween- that’s where my kids trick or treated and she dressed like a witch and how could we have Thanksgiving, she prepared the tom turkey and we sat in her dining room as a family and forget about Christmas Eve, going to her house each night before Christmas was the tradition. Obviously, I did get through those times; we pulled together as a family and it was okay. Whew! Well, at about 11:00 New Year’s day 1998, I was walking to the wood pile in my yard and it hit me – this sentimental feeling that is hitting me now. There was no warning, no real cause, just a flood of emotion hit and it was all about her – it was all about beginning the first year of my life, 1998, without my mother in it. It brought on a stream of tears and a consequent river of memories, all tied to her. I spent most of the day there in that soppy place but after it was over, I felt much better. These bouts of extreme sentiment are here for a grand purpose – they cause you to reflect and remember and that is how we keep people with us – through reflection and memory.I call it a spiritual visit. 

I suppose nature knows how to bring on these bouts of emotion when they are needed. We are too busy, it seems, to go there on our own. So, we run into situations that force us to get knee deep in sentiment and when we do, I think we need to just go with it and be there for a while. Anyway, just posting this because I can guess that everyone reading this has a sort of void in their hearts on this cusp of the New Year,we all miss someone, I get that from reading your posts on FB. Isn’t it beautiful to remember though and if it means stopping a bit and crying or calling someone and telling or sitting here writing, it is what we should do. It’s how we keep people in our hearts when they can’t be here physically. Or, like our children, when they have gone into their own lives, as they should, and things are not as they were, it helps to remember those times that were their childhoods and admit that this passage is both joyous and disheartening for parents. We easily celebrate the joy but the counter emotion of soppiness should be addressed also, for it is just as real.

 Writing this has helped me through this sentimental journey and I feel much better as I type out these last words. I hope to begin 2013 with a stronger take on how happy I am for my four sons, how happy I am that they are having their own lives. I know, like you know, I will always miss some of those moments when life was different. I will go with these seemingly random bouts of emotions that old songs and New Year’s Eve can cause and then I will go on into the “here and now” remembering that today will one day be yesterday.
there are so many memories to find inside of a fireplace…
 
 

“We drank a toast to innocence we drank a toast to time
We’re living in our eloquence, another old lang syne”

dan fogelberg

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looking ahead without falling behind

The moon is somewhat of a sliver tonight and the air is heavy but soon there will be a front that moves in and tomorrow morning will be crisp and fall – like. I look forward to that.

 I felt somewhat discombobbled today. All day I had thoughts going on in my head, words I wanted to put together to tell you something but I was not here. Now, I am here and the words have vaporized. It is so difficult for life to align itself, for everything to be synchronized; components seem to be missing many times. Or are they? Maybe we just don’t see them.

The fronts are struggling to find their way into this delta but change is in the air for certain. The ground is mottled with intensely colored leaves and the woods are tinted with ambers and burgundies, all under an azure sky that darkens suddenly now instead of the slow dimming brilliance of the summer one– Nature is busy preparing this glorious season. It is the last autumn of childhood for me; next fall only Skip and I will remain here in this house, everyone will be far away in school and at work. It is just as it should be but somehow, so challenging a passage for a mother to go through. They were all just upstairs playing or sleeping, rumbling around through childhood, a safe time I thought would never end. Now, it’s a plane ride to see them and a faceless voice when I hear them. They are (wonderfully) grown. Once again, I think of my mother and something she told me. When the twins started Pre –K, I was feeling like this – happy but shadowed by melancholia – and she enlightened me by referencing her own path as mother and told me how she looked forward to each new chapter of our lives. I suppose it is the best way to look at life, to focus on what is up ahead and just use the rear view mirror for an occasional reminder of how wonderful those yesterdays were.

I go forward with that thought and share it with you while I fill my heart with the wonders of yesterday and wait to embrace the gifts of today. And like my mother, I will celebrate each new stage and try to keep my sentiment on the pages of this blog – I so thank you for sharing this place with me and allowing me to get soppy  sometime .
A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.
Honore de Balzac

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life marches on

It was a very early rise this Saturday morning in September – my daughter has ACT and she and her best friend were up and stirring before 6. That was a good thing, however (not ACT, yuk to that rigid one dimensional humbug) getting up early on a Saturday morning. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with those few minutes before sunrise – sit outside with coffee. It was so connecting; I felt part of the whole as I listened to daybreak and contributed my small sounds to it. Mostly, it was the birds that I heard – I suppose I never realized how many different sounds they make – how individual they all are – I don’t think nature intended us to all be alike either – this blending concept that is all so politically correct these days and these generic looking people in advertising (you know what I’m talking about – those people that could be of any ethnicity – a marketing tactic to reach as many “victims” as possible), for me is unnatural. Being equal and being the same are two entirely different concepts. I think society does a great job trying to make us all look the same but it falters dramatically on making us all equal – the cookie cutter looks are just ways to distract from the harsh reality of inequality. I love the differences we all have – I would never want to paint a picture with just a tube of blue.

 
 
 
Anyway, the morning was transcending. I suppose I will soon have much time to re acquaint myself with the sunrise and the sounds of the earth waking up – for like the birds, my nest will soon be empty too. That’s a bundle of mixed emotions there. As we always say, where did the time go? I am happy about the lives my sons are carving out for themselves – they are independent lives – they have gone away and found their way, their own way. Hopefully, my daughter will be able to do the same. It is what we want as parents, right? What an internal conflict we feel – we try to raise them to be independent of us  and when they finally are, we are happy but we also feel this …whatever “this” is.I suppose without really knowing, we begin from the very first day of their lives teaching them to be independent of us. Well, after about 20 or so years of that, they, hopefully, are – it’s what we wanted, it was our job.
 

 

 
 
It seems I am doing a bit of rambling here – sorry. I hope, as always, there is something within this post that finds a place in your situation. This motherhood/parenthood topic is something paramount for me and I have a feeling it is important to most of my readers also. Our children are our lives and they are our gauges that read the happiness or sadness in our hearts. There have been times, one recently, when one of their worlds was upside down and it consumed me, it paralyzed me until they were straight again. It’s what we do; it’s who we are. I told a friend recently that I feel as though mothers are like human size filters – everything flows through us as we try to make the lives of our children the best they can be and these heartfelt efforts take their toll and leave the impurities there with us so that our kids can move on.

 

 I refer to my mom many times and I think of her always. She is there in those early mornings when I sit quietly by myself and I can still draw from her wisdom. She once told me – I suppose it was when one of my children had reached a milestone ( like going to pre – k J ) that she was never sad about the “closing door”, instead she looked forward to the next thing we would do. I remind myself of that often and aspire to be so positive towards this natural and inevitable evolution of life.
 

 

 I end with a public expression of gratitude and humility for the experiences life has given me thus far and I do not take one moment, one gift, for granted as I look ahead with the anticipation of the next chapter and I wish this appreciation and courage for you also. Thanks mom.
 
 

 

 
 
Let go
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Still here

I found this old post , one from the very early days of my blog, and it is so fresh and so focused on what I imagined for this weblog so I decided to repost and refresh 🙂

August 3, 2008

Basil

While I wash the last of the dishes this morning, dishes left from supper, I am listening to  Neil Diamond’s Forever in Blue Jeans. For the most part, the house is quiet. I stack the plates smallest to biggest, and arrange the cups somewhat neatly on the drying rack and casually glance at the day ahead. It should be a simple day, a day filled with ordinary stuff and minimal confusion; the kind of day that I love most. For a minute, I think of my mother and how I would sit at the kitchen table when I was a teen and still so bewildered. I’d watch her wash each glass and each plate in a way that was hers and I’d talk and ask questions and she’d answer and it felt so good to be there in that kitchen, in that shelter where my world was turned right side up. Somehow I knew then that I would remember those times and I knew I was recording that image of her as she washed dishes and the way she listened and the world she created for me and all of my adolescent insecurities.

Those big moments in life are necessary and certainly enjoyable, but these little moments that aren’t so noteworthy, are where I find peace and connection. The big moments bring with them so much anticipation that sometimes we are bound by expectation to be disappointed. I rather those moments of spontaneity and surprise, a day when nothing is really on the docket and suddenly Elizabeth comes in with a zinnia for my kitchen vase or I find the first turquoise egg from one of my Americanas, or Neil Diamond comes on the radio and sings Forever in Blue Jeans while I am washing the supper dishes and remembering my mom.

In case you find some garden time today, I hope you do, and if you have a lot of basil by now, you may want to dry some for the winter. I have learned that it should not be tied and bunched like some of the other herbs. I will post the correct way according to my source, Organic Gardening Magazine :
• Don’t tie basil stalks together or hang them to dry as you might other herbs.
• Pinch or snip leaves from the stems and place them on a screen or absorbent towel.
• Stir daily and allow to dry until crackly.
• Store in an airtight container.
Till next time,

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Moving on

Sitting here, taking a small break from the garden, looking at the cobweb under one of the chairs in my keeping room. I see this, not as you might think, but as a testament to not having little ones anymore. It seems just a short time ago, I routinely moved this 9 foot harvest table across the room, stacked the chairs on it and scrubbed the floor underneath and while the chairs were upside down, I wiped away the dust and whatever else might have been hanging there. I did this because some tiny person would most assuredly be crawling through this wooden maze of legs in search of a missing Cheerio or renegade grape. Who would have thought those days would have ever ended?

 I, of course, still sweep this floor but I must confess, it is without much concern, nothing is dropped and nothing is squished and nothing rolls under here anymore. It has become the perfect place for a little cobweb to manifest. I suppose that is how life is, we use a space, we interact with certain people, we spend that time “there” and then we move on. And when we do, there is something or someone, waiting to take that spot.
We move on, we let go. Again, I reference my mother – she would comfort me in those “big” moments, the moments when my children started school, figured out the tooth fairy fable, and left home – she shared with me how she always looked ahead to the next chapter of our lives with excitement and anticipation. I draw from that optimism as I sit in the mottled rays of the setting sun that are shining through the keeping room window and  “artistically” capturing the natural miracle that is a cobweb .

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Mothers

Today would be my mother’s 80th birthday. I think of her every day, nearly every hour, but today I wonder, I wonder how she would look, how would she sound –  I wonder how our relationship would have evolved by now – me at 57 and she at 80? There are seemingly volumes of words and lessons I have at my disposal from the 43 years I knew her and I try to keep them handy for I am discovering they were all messages from God really. The things your mother tells you are so pure – there is no ulterior motive, nothing that will mislead you, nothing self-serving, just pure love spilling out to you and giving you their wisdom to take and use to help you in this life. Ok, here’s the crazy part – I still can connect with her. I could sit and write all afternoon about these times and instances and one day I will – just for myself, my memory, in case it begins to fade. I am certain the spirit remains.

 I miss my mother‘s physical presence, however. I miss going places with her, having coffee with her, going to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas, watching her brush Elizabeth’s hair, and hearing her tell me “how proud I would be of those boys one day”. One quiet afternoon with her in the house I grew up in telling her about my life and hanging on to every word she spoke…that would be heaven.

 You know, they say when you lose your mother, you lose your historian – true. There are holes in my history that will never be filled because only she knows. It is especially difficult and evident while raising my own daughter – I want to ask, “Did I think that or do that” – no one knows but her. And beyond that, no one has the capacity to care as she does. Others come in a close second, but no one can take her place. I am convinced it is a higher love that is eternal.

I suppose this entry is a bit soppy, but it is where I am at this moment, this moment of tribute and remembrance. To continue in this soppy vein, I have listed a few great quotes about mothers – I wish I had an original to share but these will do just fine…

If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. 
Robert Brault

Mother – that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries. 
T. DeWitt Talmage

I cannot forget my mother.  She is my bridge.  When I needed to get across, she steadied herself long enough for me to run across safely. 
Renita Weems

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother. 
Abraham Lincoln

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. 
Jewish Proverb
This is Elizabeth’s vanity – the mirror to the left was my mother’s, the glass container was a gift to me from my mother, and the perfume Elizabeth wears was also my mother’s favorite. Elizabeth took this picture a while ago but it seemed to be a divine fit for this post.
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