Friday, October 29, 2010

Homage to Mama

I've been considering what to write about next, and decided that I would share a few essays that I've written over the years.  I often write to make sense of what I am feeling or seeing in the world, but I've only shared with a very limited audience.  The time has come I've decided, to publish these to a bit larger audience in the hope that you will find a common thread...or a theme, if you will, that helps you in your daily life.  I often focus on relationships, and perhaps these will help you view your relationships in a new or different way.  At the very least....may you be entertained! 

So, here, from the "archives" is a musing on motherhood.

A few months ago I stood to say a few words at my mother’s memorial service.  As I stood there, unprepared, looking out at the faces of her dear friends and family I really only needed to say one thing.  She was a good mother. 

That statement simply summed it up for me.  A whole lifetime of nurturing, loving, protecting, feeding, clothing, advising, correcting and teaching was contained in one simple sentence.  I told her that she was a good mother many times before she died.  She believed me. 

Yesterday, I visited a good friend who is an art therapist. She often has an art or craft project in process and all visitors are invited to participate.  This time I was encouraged to make a stained glass stepping-stone.  She recently lost her mother also, and she entitled this project “Homage to Mama”.  She offered her mother’s costume jewelry, shells and other bits to add to the stained glass mosaic pieces.  The idea was to assemble the glass and trinkets into a design for a stepping-stone that will be added to an area of her garden dedicated to mothers. 

Now I don’t consider myself especially creative, but the design to honor my mother simply flowed from my fingertips.  In fact, it represented flowing water in various colors of blue and green punctuated by red.  My inspiration undoubtedly was the sound of lapping water from the shores of Lake Pend Oreille just a few yards away.  But for me, water represents my mother’s spirit and love flowing through my veins.  Water is the stuff of life.  Mothers are the stuff of life. 

I love to watch the water to see its various moods.  Some days it is vibrant and stormy green.  Some days it is calm and serious blue.  The stone contains these colors.  But, also it is fiery red.  This is the lifeblood and energy...the nourishment of our souls.  And also, the red reminds me of the times when my mother seemingly interrupted the flow of my life to criticize, complain or do what I thought at the time would hamper my growth.  I may have disliked these interruptions, but they, too are the stuff of life.  These punctuations bring contrast to the calm, providing us with spark and energy.  My mother made me think.

As I worked, I thought about my own motherhood.   How would my children characterize me with glass and shells?  What will they say at my memorial?  How would they quantify my lifetime of nurturing, encouraging, love, mistakes and disappointments?  Have I provided them contrast?  I think I have.  Part of my soul flows through their veins and by default I gave them the good, the bad and all that is in between.  And I have made them think.

As I write this, I remember my mother and thank her again for my life.  I thank her for mothering me with all of the joys and pains that brings.  And then my thoughts, just like the water, flow to my own motherhood.  I tell myself that I am a good mother. 

And finally, I believe it.

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