These are the hands that connect to the hearts of my wonderful Mom and Dad who raised me. Mom and Dad are so lucky to still be holding each other’s hands even this very day! The love they share grows even more every day at 94 and 96. Being with them is like watching two lovebirds. They give each other endearing looks, and also share a few squawks every now and then, to keep each other in check and to keep things real! Probably the phrase I hear the most from my Dad is “isn’t your mother sweet!” And Mom just bats her eyelids at him and smiles. Now they go on adventures together with wonderful Carol in their hoverounds. So cute and dear they are. I love them to pieces!
This Friday will be my Mama’s 94th Birthday! We have an old wooden box that we send back and forth to each other on our birthdays, though not always on the very exact day…since for us, every day gets to be a birthday!
We started it one year when I gave her one of my favorite children’s books, Wilfrid Gordon Mcdonald Partridge, by one of my favorite authors, Mem Fox. It’s about a little boy that lives next to an old folks home and loves all the people there. He goes on a hunt to find “ a memory” and in the process creates a box for an old woman there who has lost her memory. In the box were objects that triggered many memories and feelings and delight for them both!
Our box does the same. We each add little things as we send it back and forth. No box could hold all the incredible memories I have with my Mama, nor could it hold all the love and delight we share with each other. In the box there’s a fairy, an acorn cap, a feather, a tiny knitted fairy hat, my friend Becky’s Song to the St. of Lost Things, a Chinese bell, a slipper shell, a button with Great Grandchildren on it, a vintage doll dress, a grapevine wreath, a sparkling pine cone that has a baby rabbit curled up inside of it, some old slides of past houses and pets, the words ‘thank you’, a wishbone, a twinkly star, a button, a dime, an angel, a child’s spoon with the rhyme of The Old Woman in the Shoe, a little brass shoe, and some pins of Duke and Randolph Macon’s Woman’s College, and Mother Mary. Oh, and a birthday box can’t be complete without some fairy birthday napkins!
My Mama has always been in my life from the very start! She birthed me, nursed me, loved me every day that I’ve lived my life! You know what it’s like to have someone delight in you always? That’s what she’s like…ALWAYS! no matter what! No conditions, no measurements needed. I fit! I fit into her heart always! And so does she in mine.
We’re both left-handed, and right brained, and see everything as ONE! Our thoughts curl, our hair curls, and my goal is to have a beautiful heart and hair like hers when I’m her wonderful age of 94! And by the grace of god, we are an even 30 years apart! I’m so grateful for that! It’s my benchmark for remembering how old I am and how old she is. We even share the same birthday month and astrological sign! We both forget things but we always remember old Camp Junaluska songs since I went to the same camp she did when she was little. Probably either of us could talk your ears off, and we can care and listen as deeply as well.
My Mama taught me to have fun with just about anything! She helped me look for the diamond in everyone and never give up til I found it. She’s been there when I didn’t reach my goals, when I felt shy or not enough. When I would get scared at night, she’d read to me her favorite Psalm 121: I lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help…. She taught me to welcome everyone into our home, fuller brush men, jehovah’s witnesses, strangers and even kissin kin!
I don’t know how to post this here, but here’s a video of my mom and me dancing after she worked so hard setting up for and cleaning up after my Dad’s 90th birthday at The Farm. This was a spontaneous surprise for my mom as she was driving off! I’m so glad Hannah captured this moment on film for all of us! Thank you Hannah! Someday I hope I can dance with you like this! Reminds me of another children’s book: My Mama Had a Dancin’ Heart! by Libba Gray
Here’s address to go to for Hannah’s wonderful video of My Dancin’ Mama!
A set of memories that keeps popping in my head about my Mama was our birthday parties. She could come up with the most amazing parties! And get my Dad involved, too! I remember roller skating parties in the Mill warehouse on Moss Street, and getting to ride with my friends in boxes on the conveyor belt rollers. Probably the best memory I have is of the Hobo Party Mama came up with. I think it was a year when I was around 11 years old and felt pretty shy. I wanted to have ALL of my friends but not have them split up into clicky groups, like preteens would do. She came up with the Hobo theme and a rotating game party. Each person was given a stick with a bandana tied to the end of it. In the bandana were a variety of objects. I honestly can’t remember how it worked but somehow we each moved from table to table mixing with different friends, to play different games at each table. At some point we opened our bandanas and traded different objects. I remember being really amazed at how she worked it all out.
My Mama’s clock ticks from her heart not from a time piece…and her sense of distance is non-existent…after all, we’re all ONE and that includes getting from point A to B. Everywhere is on the way to everywhere else.
The power of the heart still trumps everything in her life. She lives from it and through it and goes around polishing the diamonds in everyone, leaving a wake of joy and delight in her path.
There’s only one thing about Mama that’s hard to deal with…and that’s that she’s going to be a hard act to follow. Yet since she also taught me to be myself, I’ll let that be my guide instead.
Another thing about Mama, or sometimes Mom, is that she HAS to offer you something to eat and always to drink, and has to send something home with you…sometimes she works so hard at making you feel at home that it’s downright uncomfortable. She can empty the whole refrigerator just to make one sandwich. But it’ll be a good sandwich…just might take awhile to clean up after it.
Since Mama’s mind is always focusing on the best of things… sometimes in the process, she might not quite focus on what she’s doing or where she’s going…hence finding her eyeglasses in the top shelf of the refrigerator makes sense, and that she might come home with someone else’s groceries from the grocery store, or put her girdle in some man’s raincoat pocket at a restaurant and get home to find it not in her own. Yet these weren’t the important things…the important things had to do with being with people and loving them.
No worries about getting lost either, because my Dad always said that making a wrong turn was the beginning of an adventure, so we got to go on lots of adventures! My Mama didn’t just love to send us back to school with food or shove more food on our plates. She LOVED to take meals to other people. Seems like we were always holding some casserole to take to old Mrs. Somebody in time for dinner. I don’t know how she did it but she managed quite alot of meals on wheels. And she still manages to do that these days as well.
Making mistakes wasn’t really something that could happen with Mama. Or maybe it’s fits better to say that Nothing could be a mistake, only a learning. And things that others could interpret as mistakes or not socially sophisticated, really became being a fool for God. From her I learned that anything can be turned into something beautiful and valuable. Basically Life can only be a win/win in her book!
So thank you Mama, for being not just my Mama, but the most amazing Mama. If I spell Mama backwards, which to me is a true test of forever, it makes sense that Mama spells, Am am. Because of you, Mama, and Dad, I AM. Thank you for my life! You are forever my delight. I love you so! now and forever!
Happy Birthday! and thank you for mine!
Today a bird flew hard into our window. Stunned the bird but she flew away and recovered. Francklin, who was laying at my feet as he so lovingly does when I’m ‘potatoing it’ on the sofa, jumped straight up in the air as a good springer bird dog does and landed sitting upright on the sofa to check out the bird. Once he was satisfied that he couldn’t get to it (or unsatisfied?) he jumped back down at my feet, waiting for the next moment in time.
As for me, I’m realizing that I need to grab my short window of time during the day when I find some semblance of health, normalcy and a little bit of energy. Today it was long enough for a walk and a trip to the grocery store. I must have seen too much to do through my window of time, because when I got home with the food, my body said, “That’s it for today!” Sort of like back in the days of parenting when we tried to get huge amounts done while our children took their naps, or not! Off to bed!
I’m eager to keep going with Martha’s adventure, even though my health is holding back the intensity of my work for a few more days. So for now, I’ll post pages with photos of the actual places at The Hillock, and I’ll need to paint them later. I’ll miss not having the characters in the scene, but they’ll make it there eventually!
As I prepare to paint the next page of Martha Julia Agnes Adele, I need to revisit The Castle of the Heart, Char the dragon, and the diamond trail. Here’s a photo of the trail left by a real slug (the one that kissed the fairy!) one day down at the Hillock. I need to work on how I want to paint it. Yesterday’s painting didn’t do the diamond trail justice.
Found a 6 hour window of time when my pain lightened enough for me to finish one page! Now it’s coming back! Hmmm…juggling pain, naps, exercise of some sort, and painting is the challenge these days! Grateful, though to have something I love to do, even when I don’t feel well! Great to use new pens and a few new colors! Martha, we’ll help you find your shoe yet!
Lately I’ve had this visitor that won’t leave…I’ve tried denying it, ignoring, it, and talking to it, but basically, it must just also need to rest in me along with my artist in residence. It’s not a visitor I can see…more like God or fairies. It’s a sensation that goes deep into every cell and crevice of my body creating deep soreness like I’m being flattened or pressed with a steamroller to the ground. Naps, walks, massage and more are not releasing it. It’s something I don’t like to dwell on or even give any highlighted space in my life because it’s not what brings joy…at least I haven’t figured out how it brings joy.
It can bring gratitude when I feel hot water spraying on me in the shower. It can call forth my favorite word of gratitude, aciu, Lithuanian for thank you when I feel it release a bit or tender hands release it with loving support. Tonight it seems extra strong. I just need to let it be and move on through. Though I’ve worked on my drawings for Martha’s next page, I need to let allow this pain to move on through. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be able to finish drawing a painting Slug’s diamond trail. And for tonight, I’m not pushing myself to even be creative or productive.
I think I’ll just allow things to be and rest awhile. Sleep well.
I did it! I pushed through INERTIA! back into Martha Julia Agnes Adele’s adventure at The Hillock in search of her shoe! Pushing through inertia must be like jumping into the magic pool or finding the doorway to the wardrobe when all conditions are right to enter Narnia! Now to get some new pens that haven’t dried out and mix new colors, and if I can just remember how to draw a little bit more! I’ll need to go back and work on ‘who’s speaking’ and to whom later…but for now, don’t worry Martha Julia Agnes Adele, won’t leave you anymore til you find your shoe!
Perhaps a tiny fairie’s wish, sent in a frosted bubble of air, frozen by temperature & time.
Sealed with a ring of perfect white and framed with crystallized delights.
In the ice there is a hole, a window to an outside world.
Perhaps a frog’s deep reply, bubbling from his frozen lair, frozen too by temperature & time.
How it must be for you and me as we gaze into the sky.
Might there be some deep reply, coming to us from holes up high?
Frozen by our finite minds, yet windows still to other worlds…
As I wonder at the hole and all that may come and go,
Even though it is so small, it’s bigger still, I know.
Today Francklin, Lacy and I took a walk down to The Hillock to see what we could see and hear going on about Martha Julia Agnes Adele’s search for her lost shoe. There was no snow but rather lots of ice covering the pond! It was full of crystals and swirls frozen still as a painting.Closer looks revealed a painting extraordiaire painted by Old Man Winter himself! Shadows and swirls and bubbly domes etched of a story only told in fairie language. Though we could feel the magic, we could only decipher the freezing frosty smoke that billowed from our breath! It it just spelled B r r r r r r rrrrr!