Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Mother's Gifts

Here in the US, we recently celebrated our annual Mother’s Day. It is a time of mixed emotions for many people. Some gamely put aside on-going personality conflicts to select an appropriate card or gift in hopes of evoking the ideal in this most complex and deeply felt connection. Others will make a phone call that never seems to come often enough for the receiver. Most mothers would just love a little time with their very busy children. Time is what few of us have anymore…
My own dear mother passed away nine years ago. And any experienced personality challenges have sweetly softened to memories of the gifts that only she could have given me.
For Mother showed me how to see with an artist’s eye. To carefully look at nature and catch the subtle nuance in the slant of an old tree that expresses its personality, to read stories in delicate patterns of shadows on the wall, to see faces of cupids or imps on the knees of otherwise ordinary folk, and as I matured in awareness to notice how these faces reflected some character traits of their owners! (Try this the next time you are at the beach!)
She made fairy goblets out of gum wrapper foil and created charming “secrets” for me to find. These fanciful creations were shallow holes filled with arrangements of tiny flowers, stones, berries or seeds under a piece of appropriately sized glass that made a little window. The dampness of the earth kept these natural tableaus fresh for a week and I truly delighted in them.
Mothers in traditional cultures around the world made wonderful textiles and carrying cloths embroidered or appliquéd with auspicious or protective signs to protect their precious newborns and young toddlers from disease and misfortune. The Miao in China and SE Asia as well as most of the “minority groups” of these regions make exquisite baby carriers that are rarely sold. When they do, they usually remove the carrying straps or other parts
In Kohistan, in N. Pakistan, mothers sew coins for prosperity, mother of pearl buttons to deflect evil and sun symbols and trees for strength and long lives. Little girls are given exquisite hats and little boys receive sleeveless jackets gaily embellished with metal safety pins and Western style zippers. Each one is as unique as the woman who makes it and the child who receives it.

What was the gift your mother gave you that could have come from no one else?!

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