I caught a glimpse of a Facebook live post asking for viewers to share what you think you got from your mom in terms of a talent or gift. It got me thinking about my own mom of course, especially with Mother’s Day tomorrow. My mom has been gone now for some time, over ten years, after a long and slow decline from early onset Alzheimer’s.
When I was younger (teen years and then early married life), I always thought I had time to work on fostering and building a stronger relationship with her. Once we had kids, which was in my early to mid 20’s, I thought we could definitely connect over that. The grandkids, were so important to them but being in the military made it hard to connect often.
However, we made an effort to see each other at least once a year. We didn’t have facetime, Facebook, or really even a computer back then so we really relied on letters, photos sent through the mail, video tapes recapping six months of events and milestones and phone calls with only the imagination and memories to recall faces.
Calling mom to tell her she was going to be a grandma
Even though it’s been a while since mom has been here (over twenty years if you count the years we couldn’t be with her as she declined and lost recollection of faces), I think of her often, if not daily. You know the old saying that you become your mother when you get older? Well, I am starting to “see” more of her in me. I hear her voice in mine, I see her face in some of my pictures of myself, and my hands callused and poked by pins. I definitely feel and think of her when I’m sewing.
My mom used to work at an Arctic Cat factory when we were younger sewing snowmobile suits and jackets. I remember taking a tour of her factory when I was younger, seeing all the industrial machines and being pretty impressed. I’m not sure she really enjoyed it, but it was a job. Later she would become a CNA at a local nursing home, the same one she would later live in and be cared for by her peers. While at Arctic Cat, she would often bring home bags of scraps for us to pull threads out of to get the batting in between the slippery layers to use for quilts and other projects. We were great recyclers even back then….actually I think that is something that was engrained in me not only from my mom but my grandmother who reused the cardboard concentrated orange juice containers to freeze strawberries from her massive strawberry garden. Nothing was wasted and everything was reused…even tinfoil.
Sewing at Arctic Cat was a job but sewing at home was not only out of necessity with six girls to clothe, but a talent and outlet for my mom’s creativity. One that I believe I inherited from her. Besides teaching me the sewing basics on her old manual Singer machine starting with Barbie clothes and eventually graduating to my clothes and even quilts, my mom taught me patience (or at least tried to) especially when I would have to rip out a seam. She taught me how to lay out patterns to use the least amount of fabric possible. She taught me creativity through her many “homemade” home projects using recycled elements anywhere from the plastic rings that held a six-pack together to empty thread spools (large cone ones I am assuming from Arctic Cat) and a can of spray paint.
So instead of focusing on regrets and how this disease stole our time and what could have been, I want to honor what I actually got from my mom. I will be forever grateful for the gifts she gave me that I have been able to nurture and build my business. Not a day goes by where I don’t think how lucky I am to be able to do what I love, working with fabric, helping people with their vision, and continuing the ever important repurposing and reusing which, I believe, will become even more important.
I wish I could have one more day with my mom to catch up. I think she would be proud not only of me and my family but she would get such a kick out of her great-grandkids. I’m pretty sure she would pull out her accordion and play “Roll Out the Barrel”.
I saw this video and poem by Maggie Mobley dedicated to mothers on the Today Show this week and thought I would share it with you all. I dare you not to be moved.
Her Hands, Mother Poem
Happy Mother’s Day to all mom’s, mom’s-to-be, grandmas (mimi’s, grammys, nannas etc), great-grandmas, step-moms, Godmothers etc.