This will be my first Mother’s Day without my mother. The first Mother’s Day that I don’t get to pick out a pretty card to send. The first Mother’s Day that I don’t get to call and talk to her. If I could thank my mother for just three things it would be these:
Reading. I can remember going to the bookstore and picking out Little Golden Books before I could read. My mother read to me then and continued to read to me long after I could read for myself. Perhaps even more important, she liked to read, herself. I grew up knowing that reading was a normal thing people do for enjoyment. I actually went through a phase of several years when I didn’t read very much but I picked it back up in high school. My mom didn’t just give me books, she gave me worlds and all of history.
Sewing. My mother showed me how to sew on a button when I was seven years old. Other than that she did not teach me to sew. She had taught herself and didn’t really know how to teach someone else how to do it. But some of my earliest memories are of watching her sew, seeing clothes take shape, and of going to the fabric store with her, looking at all the pretty fabrics and picking a few that I liked best. I grew up knowing that I didn’t have to be limited to whatever ready made styles and colors the stores chose to offer. When it came to clothes I could have anything I wanted. And, since my grandmother and my aunts sewed also, I grew up thinking of sewing as just a normal thing that women do. It came as a huge surprise to me the first time I ran into someone who seemed to be impressed that I sew. But I can’t imagine not sewing. I can’t imagine being stuck with only the clothes available in stores like Wal-mart and J.C. Penney and the like.
Of course, I sew more than I strictly need because sewing is fun and shopping for fabric is even more fun. Mom and I continued to make occasional trips to fabric stores all her life. It was a shared pleasure – one of our favorite things.
Simple Things. It was harder to pick a word to describe this one. We enjoyed many little things – things that would make other people go, “So what?” Flowers, even weed flowers, autumn leaves, pretty dishes, pretty greeting cards and stationary, cats, other animals, various odd-looking things, funny things, and just hundreds of little, ordinary things that are beautiful and fascinating if you stop and take a minute to really look at them. Thanks to Mom, the world is much more interesting to me than it is to most other people.
But now, my world is also much lonelier.