Tag Archives: happy mothers day

The Sparrow

Every afternoon I visit my mother – to lift her fluttering spirits, to sift through the mail, to discuss issues with the family cat, to wash some dishes, to see that the garbage cans are on the curb, awaiting their departure. The past few years have not been…winning, and I would do all I can to combat their reckless demoralization.

I visit her because her happiness is a vital catalyst to my own contentment. It is an elusive ingredient as treasured as a pool of gold coming to life in an alchemist’s hand. Her wit and laughter is incisive, subtle and madcap – a cat’s cradle spun by a lovely mind. And I would have that fabric remain strong, and not become bleak and threadbare.

I visit her not only because it is a daughter’s obligation, but it is also my tendency, my preference. By myself, I can be bleak and quiet. But together we are comical, critical and satirical. And in the end I always come away with my pride in my mother, in our unique, magnificent relationship, affirmed and confirmed.

And every afternoon when I leave I give my mother a hug. I can feel her bones as small and delicate as a bird’s. And I hug her hard, to keep her safe and to keep her from flying away like a wayward sparrow eager to rejoin her kin.

Happy Mother’s Day – I’ll be over tomorrow, and for days and days after that.

I love you very much.

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A Cat Can Also Look At A Queen

My parents own a cat, flatteringly named Aubrey.  Mother dotes on Aubrey and Aubrey – as much as a cat is willing to do – dotes on her.  In fact, I think this goes beyond a mutual affection – that it is a grasp that extends all the way to a shared personality; a subtle similarity of look and act.

Theirs is a gentle, simpatico relationship, the stuff of closeness and companionship although there are times when Aubrey feels obligated to bite.  I believe this is merely an example of feline frustration:  she would love to have a discussion with mother, but simply cannot.

Both are very lovely ladies – arrestingly so:  the entrapment is that complete.  However, I will limit this shared prettiness to the face only.  For Aubrey on her own part – and her own part only – is sizable.  Should she jump to the floor, or from table to chair, such a move would be heralded by a tremendous thump.  Now, I’ve never heard of mother jumping from various items of furniture (though a tempting thought?).  However, should she ever attempt this I am sure that any resultant sound would be soft and petite.

Once earth-bound, both move silently and gracefully – with motions that are light and small:  small enough, I think, to be held in the palm of one’s hand.

Mother often mentions the many times that Aubrey will stare into her eyes in a silent, gold-smudged inquiry.  Unnerving certainly, but respectful as well.  Most cats would not waste their few waking hours surveying the minds of their owners.

But I believe that Aubrey senses something too:  recognition, a wary perception, a realization that here was an equal – someone as refined and ornamental as she.  She would, in fact, be perfect in every way if it weren’t for that meowing issue.

I, however, don’t meow, so this issue doesn’t influence me.  I do not suffer from any such impediment, or restraints of judgement.  Mother is perfect to me – no matter what the family cat says.  She is unique, endearing and possesses the most silken and lovely of cat-like qualities.  The comparison is obvious to me.  I have – after all – always been a cat person.

A princess blithely unaware of the pea

Resting in regal contentment

Folded and serene as a gift

A cat’s cradle

With delicate lines that trace a feline femininity

Eyes bright and rare

Silken colors

The icon I’ve lived with

And live for

 

I love you mother.

Happy Mother’s Day

We Compliment Each Other

During the course of her life, my extraordinary mother has received many compliments.  They followed her then as they still do now – a pleasant enough shadow, certainly.

This is not a surprise.  With her coloring; her clear and sculpted profile; her pretty, dainty mannerisms; her charming wit and subtle observations and her undisputed style…she is in all ways enviable to all people.  They cannot help but burst with envy – couched of course within the framework of the most discreet and modest etiquette.  In other words, they try not to stare.

As for myself, I am not very open with my compliments.  In most cases I offer them up, silent as a waiter, and only if I am in a particularly good mood – if it’s the first day of autumn or if I’m entering a restaurant and there is something more than egg whites on the horizon.

But I am describing situations where I am interacting with strangers.  I hardly ever compliment my loved ones:  I always believe that such observations are assumed, and that they are all mind readers.

And I have never complimented my rare and beautiful mother.

How great a sin is this?  How terrific an error?  Compliments are often considered shallow things; shallow swipes of a needle – an artful tattoo:  symbolic to the skin, useless to the heart or mind.  But a compliment also gives pleasure; it indicates respect and recognition…all the things that my mother deserves.

And here is where I must tell you about the greatest compliment that I have ever received – and how swaddled it is with irony.  Ironic in that it comes from my mother, with her history of admiration, and that it is given to her daughter who has chosen to express nothing.

I was told this twice, in two variants – twin charms that I will wear to the end of my days.

Once she told me once that I was her greatest achievement.  Also, equally memorably, she told me that she believed she was put on this earth to have me.

Now, these things surely go further, deeper than comments on clothing and jewelry – as vital as those things are.  These comments come from a place that is fundamental and parental – a nurturing place of love and pride:  a fierce, mothering territory.  And I have never received anything so moving, or so grand.

And so I said nothing.

What I did instead was bask – in the generosity, in the beauty, in the honesty – my ego purred in the light of her comments like the laziest of cats.  I was too busy absorbing, to offer anything in return.  Which is unfortunate, as I could have said many things – necessary ones; things that made my fundamentally shy and selfish nature squirm in discomfort.

It comes down to this.  That for as long as I could remember my mother has been an indispensable, crucial, and inspiring part of my life.    She shares a light with the stars that I watch every night and long to wear in my hair as a reminder of a beauty so exquisite yet so steadfast.  From the time that I was young and nebulous to when I was adolescent and stupid to my current years when I am just as unformed and stupid I knew that there was no one like her.  It is terrifying how much I do depend on her.

I know that my mother has her times of doubt and sadness – possibly my low self-esteem has been inherited – and I wish I could do more…say more.  A child has few duties, but chief among them is to try to give back all that his or her parents have given them.

So I am trying to, but my hands and heart are so full.  I am laden with a lifetime of gratitude unspoken and unshared.

So Mother, I will begin by wishing you Happy Mother’s Day.  And also to say how much I truly love you.

Beauty And The Brat

Beauty And The Brat

My Mother’s Gifts

I am reminded every day of my mother’s generosity.

I am reminded each time I look in the mirror.  The shape of my mouth, the slope of my nose recalls to me another face – one that I know and treasure so well.  Through this delicate inheritance my poor profile has achieved what charm it could ever dare to hope for.

I am reminded whenever we go shopping together.  We can be as silly as the most repellent teenagers, yet mother-daughter mirth is at the same time quite different:  something far rarer, residing on a higher plane – proof of a relationship that will extend into eternity.

I am reminded every evening, when we talk on the phone.  There is friendship to be heard, where maturity hangs by a precipice and its mournful fingers are in danger of being stamped upon by the words of two girlfriends visiting.

I am reminded by this same voice, but at the same time a distant one, whenever I read the diary of a new mother, full of love for her daughter.

I picture my mother writing – no doubt with me howling in the background – sequestered in a bower of her free time.  I carry the image with me, her serious expression carrying my future profile:  a vision so powerful it has become a memory, even though I was not even there.

My mother’s gifts surround me, as obvious as air:  as all-encompassing, and as life-giving.  What she has given defines me.

Mother, did I ever explain why I never added “love” to all those greeting cards I gave you during my younger, more cumbersome years?  It was because I always thought it was assumed, that my love was so deeply ingrained, so much a part of my flesh and blood that I thought it didn’t need to be said.

But I will say it now.  On my blog, for all my visitors, as well as yourself, to see.

I love you, Mother.

Happy Mother’s Day.

New Year's Day Pajama Party In Catalina

New Year’s Day Pajama Party In Catalina

Ugly

When I was born, my mother thought I was ugly.  Loud, red and guilty of a most painful arrival – I deny nothing.  Mother did see Elizabeth Taylor potential in my black hair and violet eyes, but I quickly broke that promise.  My hair eventually lightened to brunette and my eyes turned to hazel, with yellow prowling throughout the iris, like a cat’s (which I came to prefer, but that is another story).

Nurses cooed over me, but mother did not understand the attention paid to the 9 pounds of noise lying next to her.  She thought I was ugly.

It was the last time she would think that of me, this first meeting that took place over 50 years ago.

Since then, my mother’s pride in her daughter remained steadfast, even throughout decades when belief in my own self-worth differed and diverged in sometimes violent outbursts.  It was an incomprehensible devotion – unblinking and unceasing – and though there were times when I claimed I didn’t believe it, oh, how I depended on it.

I depend on my mother.  Without her humor, the delicate madness of her divine comedy, I would be sad.  Without her joy in my accomplishments, I would be unskilled.  Without our nightly phone calls, I would be silenced.  If I couldn’t see my reflection in her loving eyes, I would be ugly.

My mother defines me.

I have so little to give in return, except for my steadfast pride and unblinking and unceasing devotion – too rarely expressed.  But today, I will do so.  I love you mother – Happy Mother’s Day.

Searching Together

Searching Together

Degrees

I spent this past Easter with my relatives.  Some time during the afternoon, I noticed one of my cousins staring rather intently at me.  It wasn’t an angry, or condescending or judgemental look – but it was interested, even amused.  Later, she approached me, and explained her fascination. 

It turns out that she was engrossed by my mother and I – how we talked and giggled like sisters.  (I recall this – actually, we were seated close to an enormous plate of cheeses.  Cheese makes us happy.) 

But the relationship between mother and daughter is also an engrossing thing.  As the years pass that connection curls and meanders like the rivers buried inside us, an emotional circulation that feeds the blood.

When we are born, we are close – bound by the obligations of motherhood and a spontaneous affection for the tiny, dependent creature who became the center of attention without even thinking to ask for it.  

Aubrey Doesn’t Understand Tinsel

Carried on that river by weariness, resentment and nobility, the new mother eventually beaches on the loving shore and prepares to stay there.

We Scan The Sands

But the passage of time muscles itself between the dependencies and clutching hands, forcing the characters apart, setting them upon a wandering path. 

Aubrey Annoyed, Apparently

 There are obligations here too, but this time on the child’s part, feeling a compulsion to follow other influences…although there is nothing she would like more than to stay home.

Teenage years are sad and stupid, but with luck, there is some knowledge there too.  And if a daughter loves her mother more than any of her – frankly inferior – fellow students, well, there is no shame in that.  She is happily dependent, but the neediness must stay hidden.

It is at this time when the danger is greatest – when it is in the presence of distances. Affection is like a tethered buoy and a foolish word or spark of ill-begotten emotion can cut the line, letting the deep and busy sea carry it away.   Tides flex and torment as the young person struggles in the testing waters.

But there is always a promise of help; to be given willingly, patiently and wisely.  I spoke to my mother about everything, it seems to me.  And I received – in exchange for nothing, I believe – the most exquisite sympathy and strength.  We also went shopping a lot.

Girl Talk

With the onslaught of adulthood, the relationship that started as one-sided, continued as a distant equation of checks and balances, became one of equality.   This will allow for girlish asides, in-jokes, nicknames, and more shopping trips. 

This relationship is one of degrees; emotions that read like spatial arrangements – close, distant, equal.  It forms a river, that circulation that defines me.  It continues, to be recognized today, along with a gratitude that is terrifying in its vastness and depth.

Mother – today is Mother’s Day, and I celebrate the distance we’ve travelled together.  I love you.

A Blonde And A Bob

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.

Pretty

My mother was pretty in Catalina

Squinting behind an ice cream cone

With a purse of woven silver

On her arm

With a sweater and a scarf

Scolding,

"No pretty, too pretty

Let us hide you for a while"

 

My mother was pretty in Los Angeles

And so proud of her daughter

A squall of petticoats

On her arm

With her face to my ear

Saying,

"No pretty, too pretty

Let me set you down for a while"

 

My mother is pretty now

A dainty profile, ocean's eyes

Bracelets and my past

On her arm

And I walk at her side

Saying,

"No pretty, too pretty

Let me be proud of you for a while"

 

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