Fond Musings: My Mother

Although we’ve been estranged for eight years, and counting, memories of my mother float through most of my days. The strangest things trigger them: household items she made or gave us; expressions, looks and gestures of Lucy, Bayla, David or myself; things and situations she’d love or hate; habits and opinions we do or don’t share. Or just freeze-framed images that pop up out of thin air.

And for most of eight years, she’s dominated my dreams.

My WTF Wednesday series got me thinking about the good that lingers beyond my various curtailed relationships. This post is a resulting glimpse.

My mother has always been extraordinarily creative. Envisioning and diving into huge, complex projects. Masterfully concocting her own unique designs and skillfully knitting, sewing, painting, embroidering, gardening, penning, cooking or baking them into reality. If she’d been born 30 years later, my mom would have been an adored and prolific A-listed blogger, inspiring others with her abundant and quirky crafty pursuits and hastening healing of herself and her readers through candid sharing and spicy rants.

Her girlish playfulness and enthusiasm, her generosity, her laughter, her unpretentious ways — these are what I miss most. And her beaming pride and fondness for Lucy, Bayla and even Mark and me. It’s been eight years since we’ve seen each other but ample happy memories remain…

My first memories of my mother are from my toddler naptimes. A large melmac plate of soda crackers, one third buttered, one third peanut buttered, one third with mustard. In my mom’s bed. The smell, the saltiness, the textures are all still vivid almost fifty years later. Then me trickily positioning myself to lie completely untouched, so as soon as she was sleeping I could escape to play.

I remember knitting a cable toque and mitts for my teacher when I was eight. My mom taught, coached and supported me, but gave me the satisfaction of knitting them myself. And adamantly objected to any suspicions that I hadn’t.

I remember my mom’s surprise when I arrived home for lunch in grade five … at recess. The strange empty stillness of the house. My mom’s wide eyes. And me dashing desperately back to school.

My mom’s cooking and baking were abundant and divine. Chocolate mayonnaise cupcakes — moist and chocolatey with brilliantly almost crisp crowns and colourful butter frosting and sprinkles. Hallowe’ens, Valentines Days, St. Patrick’s Days, my mom would prepare cupcakes for the whole class, beautifully presented in huge especially acquired Tim Horton’s cardboard doughnut boxes. I’d carry them into school beaming. No one else’s mom did that.

Memories of my mom’s pasta dishes, casseroles, soups, stews, pies, quiches, pastry, cakes, bread, roasts, Yorkshire pudding and infamous egg and cheesy breakfasts still make my mouth water. And I remember sitting on the kitchen counter after school, rambling incessantly every detail of my days while my mom peeled and chopped potatoes or sizzled onions, green peppers and ground beef.

And ideas? My mom was full of them. Like the wind that swept through her, my mom swooshed intently after each one creating, transforming, attaining and rerouting. My mom’s fertile imagination and enthusiasm transfigured simple pizzeria colouring contests, fundraisers or school projects into complex, three-dimensional works of art. A Martha Stewart before her time.

I have fond memories of rollerskating with my mom at Studio801. Flashing lights and loud music. She seemed so happy.
I remember her playful willing of phone calls and events. And her gorgeous unreachable feminine ways.

My mom loved and had silly fun with our wee ones, right from the start. Generously bestowing upon them her time, talents and resources. Always wishing them the very best.

My mom taught me a lot. From my mom, I learned to envision and to make — from scratch and without question. I learned about strong boundaries. I learned to stand up for myself. About the power of words and rhyme and rhythm. And the power of intention.

It’s been eight years since I’ve actually seen my mom. I’m not likely to see her again. But she’ll always be a part of me.

I am grateful for her good.

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  • What a lovely musing. It is a blessing to be able to see the sparkle and shine along side the emotions that sometimes cloud them.

  • Lovely. Every picture is made of light and shadows. Thank you for sharing the moments of light.

  • Lori-Ann

    So beautiful… so filled with live and light. I’m continually in awe of your talent to put such thoughts into words and inspire and touch others. I am grateful to be a witness to your journey. Thank-you!

  • Laurie Kingston

    This is very brave, honest writing, Andrea. And it resonated for me very deeply. I needed this reminder today especially. We can keep up the boundaries, acknowledge the pain and the wrong and still pay tribute to the good. Thank you.

  • Janice Toews

    You got so much of your talent and beauty from your mother. This brings tears to my eyes. How beautiful that you can recognize the treasures and maintain the boundaries.

    • Thank you, Janice.
      I am grateful for so much goodness. Xo

  • andree

    I can’t believe I missed reading this incredible post. I am awed by your ability to do this. Just when I thought you could not challenge me anymore, surprise you did it again. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Andree.
      And thank you for the moral support when never again ended. Xo