Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mom

My Mom at 16
For I had to write a Mother's Day article under their guidelines and I am beginning to realize that I have a lot of writing to do and a lot of ideas but the writing that no one sees is my best writing so I save it... I'm just not sure what for yet.

On this Mother's Day I find myself alone.  Circumstances have me separated not only from my own mother but from my son as well and the pain of not seeing him is so great I'm not prepared to write about that so instead I am choosing to write about my own mother.  My mother and I have had our differences, a novel's worth to be sure but the older I get and the more time I spend apart from my own child the more I understand and appreciate her.  It breaks my heart to think of all the times her and I were at odds when really all she wanted was what she believed to be what's best for me.  Her passion and intensity were always out of love and the older I get and the more I see the same passion and intensity in me, the more I understand it.  Today I want to list my favorite things about my mother, the things that I believe helped shape me into who I am today and I don't think I'm half bad.

My mother is an artist.  I do not use the word "artist" lightly.  My mother is creating no matter what she is doing.  Never have I seen her spend any extended amount of time just seated without something in her hands.  I grew up with art books sprawled out on the floor full of images of the human anatomy or masterpieces by all the great artists throughout history.  As I got older she taught me how to model as she used me multiple times for some piece she was currently working on.  My mother has successfully accomplished virtually every medium of art there is from stained glass, to oil painting, to sculpture.  She drove herself to learn everything and when she knew she had perfected it she taught herself something new and hasn't stopped to this day.  Her ability to self-teach landed her a position teaching sculpture for a college.  There was a time when I compared myself to her and thought of myself too inadequate to try anything even though she urged me to do so and praised every creative effort I ever made.  Now I have embraced writing as my personal medium so as not to compare myself to her, have my own individuality and use her example of dedication to keep improving my craft.

My mother kept life interesting.  I grew up with some new interest my parents were into all the time.  They raised Pit Bulls when I was a baby and some of my favorite baby pictures are me lying on top of one with a bottle.  We raised Yorkies when I got older.  They became falconers and for years we had Red-Tail Hawks, Harris Hawks, or Kestrels as part of our family.  This was in between all the other pets we owned from rodents to cats and birds.  I have often wondered just how much having all these interests in our lives enriched mine and my little brother's lives even now.

My mother is strong and she believes in me.  My mother has such a strong will that I'm not even sure she realizes how powerful it is.  Her ability to be in tune with everything all the time made her appear to be aloof to those who don't really know her.  Even though I could see how she could be misunderstood I knew better.  She has a drive that is so strong and so intense that it keeps her constantly yearning to learn and better herself.  She is so in tune with everything around her that she can assess a situation almost instantly leaving little need for conversation.  I see myself becoming more and more like this as well and work hard at not being as misunderstood as my mother always was because times have changed and I had to live single during years she was still happily married in her own life, which brings me to my next point...

My mother is devoted.  No matter what issues my parents ever faced, there was never a question of my mother's devotion and loyalty to my father.  Her strength of conviction may be misunderstood but there was never mistaking how in love with my father she was.  As I grew up I watched her dote on him and comfortably express how completely in love and fulfilled she was by him.  Sometimes it would be uncomfortable for us kids but now I see how she felt.  She was brave enough to push through any ideas others may have had on how to love or how to show it and she was completely herself with my father.  She just loved him.  Recently she expressed her love for him to me in private in a way I never thought possible coming from her.  I realized that she had also worked hard at keeping the mother/daughter relationship very clear and she rarely ever opened up but in that moment, I felt closer to her.  She was honest with me.  She trusted me with a vulnerability I had never seen in her before and I actually respected her even more for doing so.

Mother's Day doesn't have the same meaning for her that it does for most people so I am careful about how I express myself with her, but here I can tell her just what she means to me.  I do my best every day to live up to the example she set as a woman and a mother and learn from her mistakes exactly the way she would want me to.  She may not agree on my choices but I know with absolute certainty that she feels pain whenever I do and she loves and continues to have faith in me.  I hope someday she'll understand just how much I do appreciate her.  My mother's beauty will always remain unmatched in my eyes.