I realized today, when I was sipping my coffee and checking out my Google Reader, that everyone has an inspiration when they blog. I mean, there is some sort of tangible motivation for people to sit down and catalog some aspect of their experience and share it with the world. It wouldn't come as a surprise to me that the people who are the least successful bloggers are the same people who feel like composing for a blog is like writing for their lock-&-key diary that they kept hidden under their mattress so their brother wouldn't read it.
::pause for a reflective moment and a shake of the fist to my journal-reading brother::
Anyway, this blog is not one of those hide-and-seek kind of blogs, nor am I committed to chronicling every aspect of my life in here, be those aspects domestically related or not. I do, however, have an inspiration for all of this and that's what keeps me coming back...or, at least, I hope it's what keeps me coming back to this place and writing this stuff down!
My inspiration for this blog, without a doubt, is my mother. My mother, for all of our tiffs and frustrations, is a woman with accomplishments and qualities far beyond your average mother. She began working at the age of 17 for the Federal Government and continued working for them, through numerous shifts of power and scandals, until she was in her 50s. A few years ago, she finally retired. My mother worked full time for all those years, having two children in the middle, dealing with everything...the good: vacations, celebrations, big events; and the bad: illnesses (including her own), deaths and all of the frustrations life brings along. My mother is a power house.
Now that I'm "pushing" thirty, I find myself reflecting a lot and trying to find a balance between who my mother was, who she is, who I was and who I am. I find that we're similar in a lot of ways, and people who know my mother remind me of this fact regularly. Work was not the only portion of life to which my mother was committed. She was a family woman, dedicated to keeping a clean, neat and organized household for her family. She was involved like every parent should be, baking cakes, sewing costumes, hosting slumber parties, coordinating Girl Scout events, and managing budgets for music boosters. She rarely complained about being tired, and if I look back I can't remember any occasions where my mother actually professed to be exhausted. She was constantly on the go, constantly involved and always available.
For a long time I felt obligated to BE just like my mother, because I didn't feel like there was any other way to be. Over the years I've negotiated this feeling and have decided that one of my favorite qualities of my mother is her creativity. If I told my mother today, sitting in her crafting room, hands buried deep in a pile of paper, glue and stickers, that she was/is my creative inspiration she would fan her hand in front of my face and say, "NO! Who? Me!? Not me! You're the creative one!" But she is immensely creative and encouraged me to cultivate that since I was a small child.
My mother, now retired, is a creative force to be reckoned with! She is an avid scrapbooker, and is in the midst of cataloging many generations of my family into unique, colorful albums. She also designs and creates beautiful papercrafts, including the cutest sets of greeting cards I've ever seen. (I'm trying to get her to sell on Etsy!) She bakes cakes, can sew like a professional, and crochets like a machine! All of this despite regular pain in her joints (hand especially) due to arthritis. All of this in an effort to maintain her mobility and flexibility just so she can keep doing this.
So when I bake something amazingly tasty, or when I craft a pair of earrings that I feel are absolutely gorgeous, or when I wrap a gift meticulously, or even when I look at my cup full of Sharpie markers, I think of my mother. I think about her big, reassuring smile and the way she would just glow with pride whenever I created something magnificent. I think about the way she honored my talent, despite all of the struggles we had with one another through childhood and into adulthood. And I think about how hard she tries to keep her mind and body charged with creativity now, not accepting for a moment the concept that somehow the world tried to tell her to take it easy.
Creative people have to create. We don't know why, and sometimes we don't even know how. But despite the unknowables that exist in our lives, we never cease to stop moving. My mother never stops moving. That's why my mother is my inspiration. And that's why I love her.
- Mom & Me at Christmas, 2006
- Mom & Me atop the France Perkins Building, Labor Dept, circa 1981
- Mom (right) and Karen (left), sisters, 2005
- My mother's amazing pumpkin pie