Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother, May I?

There is one job on earth that has no retirement, no pension plan, or 401K.  There is no guarantee of any health benefits, which isn't much of a problem...because there is no such thing as a 'sick day' or 'worker's compensation' for getting hurt on the job.  This occupation is 24/7; those who wish for 9-5 work hours need not apply!  No manual exists with specific guidelines to follow,  letting you know if you are doing the right things.  On top of it all, there is no PAY.   Now, I ask you...who in their right MIND would ever take a job like that??  Women all over the world, that's who!  I'm talking about the hardest job on earth, of course.  MOTHERHOOD.

As we grow up, the days seem to be filled with that oh-so-important question..."Mother, may I?"  "May I play on the swings?"  "May I have a sleepover??"  And that one question that puts a little fear into every mother's heart, "May I borrow the CAR??"   Mothers are the ones we turn to in order to learn our limits, boost our confidence, and find the courage to face our obstacles.  Eventually, it is every mother's job to let go of the children they focused on for so long, to let them make their own ways in the world...and make their own mistakes.  If they did their jobs well, those children will learn lessons from their mistakes, move on in life and be all the stronger for it.  And even after the children are grown, if and when one of them needs a helping hand, a true mother is there to extend her own.  I know that all mothers in the world are not like this, and there are some who aren't meant to be 'Moms'...because being a Mom takes a special kind of person.  I can only give you insight about one of these special people, so without further delay, let me tell you about my Mom.

It is surprising how much talent and generosity lies behind those quiet eyes.  My mother is small in stature only...what is underneath is tremendous!  I mentioned before about the gifts I have inherited from my parents, and my artistic abilities definitely come from her, though that is where the creative similarities end.  What I can accomplish with a paintbrush and canvas, she can create with her sewing machine.  I know as she reads this post she will say sewing is no big deal...but it is.  When I was about 14 years of age I decided I wanted to learn how to sew, so that I could make my own clothes, quilted blankets and beautiful baby toys...I was going to be known for my amazing talent and unique fashion sense (though in a good way!)  Really...I had it all planned out.  I even had sewing patterns I was eyeing, and a dress that would be my first official handmade 'outfit'.  My mother quickly put that idea out of my head, and informed me that she would teach me, but I would learn to make a simple skirt first...and go from there.  I must say I was disappointed, but figured as soon as she saw how much talent I had for the task, we would soon move onto more difficult items.  And so we went shopping.  She let me pick out my own fabric, and like any 14 year old with big ideas and lofty dreams I chose two stretchy, cotton, bright colored fabrics with which I would make two beautiful skirts (and be the envy of all my friends.)  And as soon as those skirts were washed they would shrink down to the size of potholders, and the only way I would be allowed out the door was if I wore them as hand warmers.  This did not sway me, however...and soon we were driving home, with folds of this beautiful fabric sitting on my lap!

Now, what makes a skirt easy to sew is very simple.  Basically, you need to hem the bottom (sewing in a straight line,) and if you use elastic for the top, you can eliminate those pesky zippers, snaps and buttons.  Though none of it scared me!  I was brave as I cut the pattern out of my gaudy...ahem...GORGEOUS fabric like my mother showed me, and pinned the entire hem to get ready for the exciting part (pinning I found to be quite tedious, and frankly I didn't see the point...I mean, this whole sewing thing was gonna be easy, right?  I could sew in a straight line--who needed PINS??)  Finally I was seated in my mother's front of her coveted sewing machine.  I couldn't wait!!  I set the fabric and bobbin into place like she showed me, and lightly pressed my foot onto the foot control...and that's when all hell broke loose.  The lovingly-cut fabric shot off in one direction, my hands shot off in another, thread flew all over the was madness!  Now, one might say that a person who has CMT and limited function/control in their legs and feet, might not be very good at a project that involves using a foot control.  And I'm sure my mother could have saved herself a lot of time and trouble by pointing this out to me...she chose, however, to encourage me to try.  Like any good mother, she guided me through the process without completely taking over, and assumed I would figure out the rest.  And so I did.  Let me assure you--I do NOT make my own clothes, blankets or baby toys...and if I'm admired for my great fashion sense, it comes from shopping at Target (a store that does not have a fabric section!)

And let me also assure you--my mother does not sew her own clothes all day.  In fact, I can't remember the last time she made something for herself...that's where the generosity comes in.  My mom has been making blankets and baby clothes, and tote bags for the homeless (which she fills with necessities) for as long as I can remember.  Along with sewing up a storm, she knits hats and mittens, sweaters and such...and delivers these items to people in need.  A lot of her creations are mailed to Mississippi, to a church that aids the poor.  She even made my adopted soldier a travel blanket/pillow that rolled up into an easy-to-carry pack.  Most of the fabrics she has are donated from friends and family, and she finds a use for all of it.  (The really heinous ones are used as lining for blankets.)  And when any one of us needs a pair of pants hemmed or a shirt shortened, we take it to mother has also made curtains for my apartments, comforters for my bed, and crocheted me a blanket or two.  And her generosity is not limited to sewing and knitting...she is also there to lend a helping hand during the really difficult times of my life; such as moving in with me and nursing me back to health when my back goes out, and I am unable to walk until I have completely recovered.

And all of this is just a sample of what my mom is all about...I could write more, but what would I talk about on our next Mother's Day??  So for now, I will leave you with this Irish blessing for honor of all those wonderful Moms out there--including my own.

There is but one and only one,
whose love will fail you never.
One who lives from sun to sun,
with constant fond endeavor.

There is but one and only one,
on earth there is no other.
In Heaven a noble work was done,
when God gave man a mother.



  1. Thank you for a great post about my best friend!

  2. A nice tribute to your mom.

  3. A most beautifull letter for your mom to read . A loving Irish prayer . And a warmth in my heart as I remember the most loving friend I ever had , my Dear Mother , God Bless Her .

    Thank you .

  4. What an adorable story about you trying to sew! Your mother sounds wonderful...just like you! :)