Friday, October 24, 2008
The heart of the house
Mom, Dad, and Rudy in Maine this summer
A number of years ago today, my mom was born. I'm told she didn't know until much later that she would even be my mom, but I'm not sure I believe it.
What can I say about Mom? This artist, photographer, creator (not a reactor) with mad Trivial Pursuit skills and an uncanny bullshit detector? It's difficult to know where to begin - so I'll begin in the kitchen.
Someday I'll be able to cook like she does. A running joke in our house when I was growing up was that there could be a lemon, a tomato, and a jar of peanut butter in the pantry and Mom would come up with a gourmet meal - one we all ate around the table, by candlelight, for as far back as I can remember. She taught me about seasoning, creativity, and - when you use a recipe - reading it ALL THE WAY THROUGH before you begin, young lady. She bakes like a pro too; don't get me started on the key lime cheesecake.
In my lifetime I've seen her sew clothes, knit, make jewelry, paint, sculpt, weld, and design her homes in innovative and stunning ways. She went back to school as an adult, with three young kids, and got a degree in art, proving to us in the meantime that we could do anything and it was never too late. She has always been an anchor, a rock, for her family of seven siblings, her kids, and her friends. And she somehow manages to do all this without taking psychic self too seriously.
She also doesn't so much like having her picture taken.
I wish I could say more, could find the words to express how she has given me life, again and again, has been my greatest teacher and biggest fan. I wish I could fly to South Carolina right now and give her a great big hug - that one I wish nearly every day. But it will have to do to say:
Happy Birthday, Mama. And many more.
Note: The title is from an Alanis Morissette song about her mother. It's beautiful - go listen to it.