Mother’s Grace

I’m not talking about a prayer, or some other sort of religious dedication.  I’m talking about this photograph of my mother – my favorite one of her.   The photos of her juggling my baby-ish fatness, or adolescent sourness are certainly admirable – solely due to her delicate presence – but this image is my favorite.  It is private, thoughtful, sculptural – a perfect silhouette captured in our breakfast room.

Like No Other

 I don’t know what prompted this photograph – I was usually involved in parental compositions.   Perhaps I was outside, being 5 years-old and acting inaccessible and unappealing.  It’s entirely possible.  Anyway, if this portrait was the result of a spontaneous thought, a fortunately available camera, how lucky I am that this grace has been secured and is now posed – loving and alone – on a shelf in my apartment.

I wish I knew what she was thinking then!

 But I do.

I have her ‘diaries’ – in them she noted anything significant that my brother and I said, anything important we did.  So I know this (from approx. 1962):

 From a list of books I wanted:

“book about the inside of germs, book about the inside of the homes of insects, book about why moths fly”   

I just asked her what kind of mother I was and was informed I was old-fashioned because I didn’t like cigars.”

 “She told her Daddy, very pleased at something he did, ‘that knocks me off’”

 (to my brother):  “this time your toy chest won’t be a hippopotamus, let it be another animal”

So, this classical model was also a fabulous mother, fondly watching and quick to notice.  Then – as now – she feels a pride in me that is my only strength.  Between, that is, the quiet and evocative times when she only wishes to rest her quiet profile against a comforting wall.

Those are the  times when I want her to forget about us, and think only of herself.  But I know, having a mother’s grace, she cannot do this.  Still, I hope that on this one day she will.

Such a wish, of course, is not enough.  I love you mother, but for all you’ve done for me – I don’t think this is enough.

Happy Mother’s Day.


13 responses to “Mother’s Grace

  1. Lovely post for a lovely lady!

  2. This is a wonderful picture! And your tribute is the best!
    Your mom was obviously as delighted with you as you are with her! 🙂

  3. That knocks me off! Thanks mom!

  4. Since there seems to be a wall along her right (?), I wonder from her motherly angle and countenance whether she was reading something in her right hand.

  5. I love that photo. There’s a Mad Men chic to your mom, but the expression on her face is introspective and thoughtful. I hope she has a happy Mother’s Day!

  6. Beautiful photo and a beautiful tribute. I love the diary entries. What a gift to have those of hers.

  7. What a photo. Who took it? Who was there to capture it? Just lovely. So are the diaries taht seh kept, the thought of keeping them, the actual doing it. I daresay you have your mom’s elegance and your own elegance of expression.
    Bravo to you both! A lovely tribute, this.

  8. What a gorgeous photo. I love that your mother kept such diaries – I wish I had reminders like that of my childhood or of my own children’s little lives.

  9. I wish you both to enjoy your togetherness . Many moments made out of so called insignificant elements who in reality build the structures of an inner life.
    I remember a time, when our roles changed and I had to care for my mother .
    I was just reading one of her books full of her comments on the side…tears came up, but also the feeling to have been allowed to perceive in a certain way.

  10. how wonderful that she recorded your musing in a diary and you can now read them. i’m completely envious!

  11. Such beautiful and powerful words of gratitude for your mother. Those diaries are so precious to own.

  12. The clues: Breakfast room, young mother, the right arm outstretched, the intense fixed stare with mouth part open…

    From these I surmise that your mother was feeding the baby. But which baby?

    I can see why this photograph is your favorite!

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