Saturday, May 10, 2008

Creative Accounting

While I was growing up, stressing over one of life's little problems, my Mom was always there with a hug as I cried on her shoulder.

As a child, I think I was a mystery to her - and heck, I bet I'm just as enigmatic as an adult. But she always listens to me, if somewhat incredulously, over the things I worry about, live through, deal with.

So many times, after hearing me spill my guts, and offering advice, she'll ask incredulously, "Where did you come from?"

I mean, she knew the mechanics, of course. She was simply marveling at how different I was from her and my father.

Sure, I have her hands. And picked up many of her mannerisms along the way.

Among the things I'm forever grateful for is this: It's my Mom who taught me to read and write when I was two, setting the stage for my career.

A fellow lefty, she showed me the right way to hold my pencil so I was never vexed by the the left-side spirals in a notebook.

Over the years, I know I must have tested every last nerve in her body as she tried in vain to get me to mimic her Palmer-perfect penmanship earned refined during her years of Catholic school education. When done quickly, letting words pour out onto the page, a sheet full of my own writing resembles a ransom note more than lines written by the same person.

Little did she know, she'd created a monster.

As a toddler, I'd come downstairs - every morning for a month - toting a pretend schoolbag, declaring I was on my way to school.

So she threw up her hands and found me a preschool. Which was one of the most creative places I'd ever had the pleasure to spend time in my entire life.

That's another theme with my Mom, too - tapping into creativity. She used to sew a lot, obsessed with tactile textiles and beautiful patterns. These days, she quilts, making color schemes and poring over detailed designs at shows.

I get my obsession over materials from her. With her, it's fabrics for quilting. With me, it's beads and pieces of silver that catch the light.

So thank you, Mom, for all the creative support to do my own thing. Even when it seems unthinkable.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

(And if you're a Mom, Happy Mother's Day to you, too!)


Kitty said...

aw, that's wonderful!
yknow my theory is that people's personalities skip a generation within families. So often a child will resemble a grandparent.

I believe I take after my mom's mom, who was a major influence on my childhood. She did all sorts of crafts, drew, cooked, and looked after my brother and me. She was patient, kind and on the quiet side.

It's nice that your mom is still sewing away. Happy Mother's Day to her.

Is there a grandparent you might resemble?

Spandrel Studios said...

It's those quiet people in our lives - such as your grandmother - who can leave such an indelible mark, don't you think, Kitty?

It's funny you should say that about the generational leapfrogging that personality traits take. It's been pointed out many times over the years that in some ways I take after my grandmother, my Dad's Mom.

She's always been one of those who march to the beat of a different drummer. Even now, if I get her to talk at age 89 about the dresses she's designed or the world travel she's done, you can see the joy that thinking outside the box has given her. She's always been curious and loves to learn, and kind of delights in being one of those who Think Different.

I give her props, too, because in her late 70s she learned to check email!

My maternal grandmother's definitely in the mix, though - I have her red hair and love of cake!

Kitty said...

That's wonderful both of your grandmothers are around. How lucky you are?

That's a cool story. She sounds ahead of her time!

Spandrel Studios said...

Yes, my Dad's Mom was always ahead of her time... but I should have used past tense on my maternal grandmother as she passed away when I was in elementary school. But memories of her still burn bright - every time we visited her, she always had some kind of cake for a snack. She was the first one who gave us Tastykake Juniors, these little rectangular snack cakes made by a Philadelphia company. Eating one of those is an instant memory-jogger for me.