She’s not unusual because she quilts… or crochets… Not because she embroidered bluebirds of happiness on my pillowcases when I was a child — and a red heart on my undershirt for Valentine’s Day.
Not because she would celebrate every holiday in grand style…even the “smaller” holidays like George Washington’s Birthday (a holiday most people ignored then and lump into the generic “president’s day” now).
It’s the WAY she does things that makes her unique.
My Mother tends details
How? My mother’s George Washington celebration was complete with a re-telling of the fable of “I will not tell a lie” after chopping down the cherry tree. Dinner that evening included a chocolate and cherry roll-cake — frosted to look like a log with chocolate icing bark and a hatchet (carefully cut from cardboard and covered in tin foil) buried blade down in the top of it.
St. Patrick’s Day showered me with tales of leprechauns, magic, and pots of gold (and the hope that someday I would actually catch one!) She decorated the table with Leprechauns and pots of “gold” and live shamrocks. To this day it’s one of my very favorite holidays!
Every possible holiday was celebrated, but beyond those days… My mother always tended the details that turned an ordinary day into something special.
She would sing to me on the way to daycare, something she probably doesn’t realize I remember. She was always reading to me, talking to me, and telling me stories; broadening my young mind to embrace the arts before I could properly pronounce the word “arts.” And on the way my mother protected me not just in the usual maternal ways — but beyond what was common for that era: She had a seatbelt installed in the Volkswagen Beetle she drove in 1968, long before seat belts were commonplace, just to keep me safe.
My mother knows how to set a table
With linens and silver and crystal and china.
She knows which fork should be used for which course.
She knows how far the dinner plate should be from the edge of the table.
She knows that a proper table needs a variety of colors and shapes and aromas.
My mother hosts extravagant tea parties…
The kind where people wear hats and gloves.
She makes the confections by hand and they sit daintily atop lace on tiered platters.
No finger sandwich has a crust and everything has just the right amount of green garnish to look inviting and make your mouth water.
There are sweets and savories, there are three kinds of tea and coffee.
There are themes and colors are coordinated.
My mother’s magic is infectious
My mother has creativity flowing like wispy spells cast from her fingertips.
It dances as a gossamer mist about the room she inhabits,
adheres itself to everything she touches and continues to sparkle long after she’s left the room.
Her special magic rubs off (just a bit) on anyone who follows behind her and touches what she has touched, moves where she has moved, and inhales where she has exhaled.
My mother is old school
This distressed me terribly in my youth. It took me decades to properly appreciate that fact.
She can type on a manual typewriter (120 words per minute back in the day!)
She still writes secret notes to herself in Gregg shorthand, and signs love-notes to my father with a wiggly line that only the two of them understand.
She can still recite poetry she learned as a child. She grows orchids and violets.
She brings flowers, vegetables, and fruit from seed to table and thinks nothing of it. Her herbs season her meals.
My mother organizes and orchestrates
My mother works forever “behind the scenes” to make others look good, to make life more pleasant, to ensure that no one around her goes without the little luxuries that most people have forgotten existed.
If the world is a stage, my mother paints the scenery, pulls the curtain open at precisely the right moment, and adjusts the lighting to be sure the right mood is achieved and ensures that everyone is viewed from the best possible perspective. The actors have nothing to worry about other than their lines — and the audience is completely enveloped in the experience.
In an age of modern conveniences and sharp edges, my mother brings the culture of days gone by, softens the corners of life, and cares for all those around her. She works tirelessly and asks for nothing in return. She merely gives of herself, her time, her considerable talents, and creativity.
My mother has MAD skills!
She sketches out ideas to make better use of any space — business or personal. She’s an efficiency engineer, without the title/degree. She’s a financial whiz and can make things work in the most daunting of fiscal circumstances, and does it so well, that few people would even notice.
She taught me how to behave like a lady, even though I often ignored the lessons and shunned her etiquette education at the time. She taught me that women aren’t weak, they are refined. That they should be assertive when required, but never aggressive. They aren’t needy, they provide for others. She guided me tirelessly… even when I must have appeared to be a hopeless student. (Some of it DID stick, Mom!)
She was my first advocate when I said I wanted to be a writer — and is still my best editor. She doesn’t pull punches — she’s honest with me and tells me when it’s good and tells me when I need to do better.
My Mother is beautiful – inside and out
In high school, all my boyfriends thought my mom was beautiful and told me I’d be pretty at her age because, “you know what they say about a girl and her mother.” Even my father calls her “pretty lady” — to this day — and beams when he says it.
My mother is fearless, but I know she occasionally pretends to be outgoing to hide the fact that there are still tiny remnants of that a shy little Eastern Kentucky girl buried deep inside. She is calm and comfortable in her own skin — a skin she considers rather ordinary.
I wish she could see herself the way I see her, the way my father sees her, the way the rest of the world sees her … what we see is exceptional!