My mom was a member of the Flat Earth Society. She had a lapel pin she wore to make sure we all understood that the earth really was flat. I’m pretty sure she knew the earth was round but if challenged she would always say, “have you ever seen more than one side at a time?” The answer was always, “nope.” Point taken.
She was a painter too. She bought a huge canvas, splashed it with god-awful green house paint and sprinkled pea gravel on it. When it finally dried we all sat back to look as she uncovered it. I don’t recall ever sitting for another unveiling.
She was an amazing cook. Even though there was just seven of us in the house she always cooked for ten people, and the other three would, without fail, show up. Bouillabaisse was her fall back meal. I’ve never found another bouillabaisse that tasted that good.
A part of her artistic self would really come out when she sewed or knit a sweater or scarf for one of us, or herself. They were always beautiful colors and full of texture. She once made me a really heavy, and really huge, cable knit sweater. Just off white, warm as heck, good for feeling cuddled, it was, for twenty years, my fave. I wish I still had it.
She designed two houses, the second of which was the place she lived until she died. One entire wall of the living room had five huge floor to ceiling windows that were intentionally built to hold her collection of antique glass pieces. Some of them had come from her mother but most she had collected here and there over the years. She marveled at the five hundred or so different shapes and colors that greeted her every morning, as did everyone who walked into that house. I think she thought of that wall as one of her greatest creations.
During a visit with her, some thirty years ago, she showed me five gemstones she had purchased and explained that when she died she wanted each of us children to have one. She pointed to a rather large green one and said this is yours.
Several years ago she did die, and I did get the green one. It wasn’t until just recently I took it out of the drawer, put it where I could see it, and started the process of feeling into just what it was I could create with it. It took me a couple of months but I wanted to make a piece that was timeless, that celebrated my mother. That would say things like, even though we totally misunderstood each other, and never really got along, I know that somewhere in all of your artistry, you loved me, and even more, I loved you. I want it to send a message to you that I really wish you were here, to see what I’ve created, with what you gave me. And we could appreciate all of it, together.
So I had the circle made of white gold and used yellow gold for the accents so, like my mom, I could wear it with anything, depending on how I felt in the moment. I added a ruby on the left side to represent her heart, as being next to my heart. And the “rather large green stone” is for a splash of color, just for fun. It’s timeless because even though I haven’t met her I know my granddaughter will love wearing it.
My mom didn’t get to meet me as Guinevere, I transitioned a few years after she
died. When I first put this necklace on I cried for what seemed like days. I have no doubt that my transition would have made sense to her. My showing up as me would have answered all of the weird confusion between us.
This is one of those feelings I live with that I can’t repair. Had I known I would miss her a much as I do I would have changed my ways in a heartbeat.
This may be the first time I’ve ever said this and actually meant it, with all of my heart, and more.
Happy Mothers Day mom, all of them, I love you.