The show was about mothers and I have the kind of mom that inspires essays and childhoods and moments in the kitchen. She was my first friend and I spent my childhood, pre-adolescence and teenage years talking to her in the car, through bathroom doors and in her bedroom. One marriage and two kids later and I still call her most days – sometimes to chat, sometimes to cry - always to be heard.
My mom is also crazy talented and she created a lovely, otherworldly flower arrangement to sit on stage with us as we read about our journeys through motherhood. Most people would have created something beautiful for the occasion and the good lady surely did. But she also created something meaningful. My mom always has had a way of doing that – showing me where meaning and beauty meet and create something important and lasting. The piece is full of my great grandmother’s and grandma’s costume jewelry and pieces of my dear mom’s own frosting – pearls and clips and crystals that shine. The porcelain flowers nestled into the dried flowers came from a store I watched her dream up and allow me to be a part of for a while. It was an insight filled journey, working every day in a world of my mom’s making. We learned a lot about each other and most of it was even good. No one knew that the pretty collection of flowers and twigs on stage was really a pretty little collection of my past. When I got up to speak, I didn’t feel alone. My mother and grandmother were right beside me.
That afternoon I went to my parent's house to pick up the arrangement. It was sitting in the front room with a card addressed to me. That lovely note now sits in a box of keepsakes, but I wanted to share it with you here.
(The event took place in a dinosaur museum and the room was surrounded by their bones and depictions of their natural habitat.)
May 9, 2013
As I watch you realize your dreams, I am a proud mama. I am grateful you allowed me to participate, in a small way, with you tonight.
As we shopped together for this arrangement to set on stage with you and the wonderful women who will participate in “Listen to Your Mother”, I was thinking like a designer. I wanted to match the feel of the room, the dinosaurs peering in as you each read your parts. I wanted it disappear, but you know me…I started thinking.
I thought about those dinosaurs and realized we are still learning from them after they have been many a millennia gone from us, and I realized the same is true about our mothers. Many of the things a mother teaches, she doesn’t even know she is teaching. The dinosaurs certainly didn’t set out to teach us anything. However, they continue to unwittingly help scientists unlock, and learn of, many of the mysteries and miracles that are a part of our home.
So…instead of matching the museum’s aesthetics, I thought I would create the arrangement as a parallel. Perhaps the arrangement is not the perfect design for the room. It may be too sentimental for some; but, it includes pieces from a mother who is still here and mothers who have been gone from you for a while. Some beyond your memory and some not. Women, who like the dinosaurs, without their realization, you will continue to learn from far into the future.
I love you with all my heart.
Man, I am some kind of lucky.
Me in my mom's Chanel and pearls (right) alongside the fabulous Amy Hackworth, a lovely writer that also read for LTYM.