08 May 2009

becoming her

it's happening. i have begun to see my mother in me. the moments are small, they are sudden, and more often than not, i smile when i notice them:

when i wipe benji's face with a wet cloth after his lunch. when i sing him edelweiss before his nap. when i make my bed and straighten the quilts. when i eat dessert for breakfast. i know she'd be proud. i am her when i read a funny greeting card in the grocery store and snicker like she does. she is a sucker for a cute card and will buy them for no good reason. and so will i. and then i will hold onto it until the perfect occasion arises and send it on it's way with hopes to make someone's day. she taught me that. not on purpose, but by example. most of her lessons came that way.

i think of her when i fall asleep reading, hear james taylor on the radio, watch david letterman, see seinfeld reruns or find myself singing peter, paul and mary's puff, the magic dragon. i am my mom when i wear red shoes, dangly earrings, use french milled soap or apply lipstick with a teeny tiny brush that twists up and down. i think of her when i see blue danube dishes. vintage maps, europe, the sixties, her cute wardrobe and the romance between her and my father. postcards, reading glasses, pretty ribbons, a button collection. yellow daffodils, sheet music, floral patterns, painted fingernails and picnic plaid.

i am my mom when i sit at my computer and type up a story. i am her when i sneak lifesavers to dan at church. when i pack a hundred ziplock baggies along with an extra tote for vacation souvenirs, i know whose daughter i am. when i order a coke from a drive-thru window, i smile and wish my mom were there to share. i think of her when i see candy neccos and chocolate lindor balls in the aisle of the grocery store. i am her when i order a fancy dessert. i am not her when i eat every last morsel on my plate. my mom eats like a bird. she tastes what she wants and stops when she's full. last weekend, for the first time ever, i made mom's crepes (thinnies) and almost fell out of my chair when i tasted them. they tasted just like hers. i hadn't expected them to. i instinctively rolled them up with butter, spooned sugar over them and then cut them into bites. just like she does.

i shared my first slice of new york cheesecake with her after seeing my first broadway show. oh how happy i am for that memory. and a million others.

when i get lost in libraries, giddy with a stack of books, i think of mom. i find her inside when i remind myself that i'm good enough. i am my mother's daughter when i iron while watching movies. i am her when i transfer all my junk from one purse to another. although her belongings are always labeled and tucked away in such an organized fashion. she loves to label. and i do too. my mom is a writer. i am too. though she is much better than i am. she is an editor, i know she'd have much to say about my run-on sentences and my long paragraphs and my lowercase letters, but she reads anyway and never criticizes.

my mother is in me when i feel benji's cheek, checking for a fever or when i take his socks off so he can feel the grass between his toes. i think of her when i get excited for the mailman to come. my mom is in there when i add the secret ingredient to her chocolate sheet cake; a teaspoon of cinnamon. every day i hear her encouragement, her laughter, her optimism ringing in my ears.

i write my name and see that hers is within mine.

writing prompts | week 08.
mother's day. write a letter.

My mother is a poem I'll never be able to write, though everything I write is a poem to my mother.
- Sharon Doubiago

whether your mom is a bosom buddy or a distant relative, whether she lives next door or a hundred miles away, whether you're on the same page or in an entirely different book altogether, whether she is sick or well, whether she is in heaven or in earth, write a letter in her honor. write your thoughts about she who gave you life, she who grew your heart within hers. she who planted seeds of wonder within you. she who tied your shoes and fixed your breakfast and taught you cursive and helped you with your times tables. she who made your favorite meal on your birthday and brought you saltines when you were sick in bed. honor her this weekend. breathe life into a letter, to keep or to send. you choose.

01. thank her for a happy moment you shared. write a poem, a limerick, a haiku.

02. in what ways do you hope to become like her? what beliefs did she instill, what traditions did she cultivate, what was her specialty?

describe a childhood memory in great detail, in your youthful perspective. earlier this week i wrote about my favorite apron. which reminded me of our pantry and how i used to climb the shelves like a ladder. which reminded me of doing handstand contests in the hallway. and chasing peaches, our dog, around the yard. which reminded me of hopscotch and four square and playing until dusk while the adults talked on the lawn and the mosquitoes buzzed and no one reminded me that it was past my bedtime. those were the days. when you dive into your childhood you may find yourself wanting to swim laps.

write. remember. write some more. fold it up. seal it with a kiss.
happy mother's day to my mom and to yours too.


Tiffany said...

Absolutely beautiful, Marta! Though we've never met, I really like the both of you. ;)

Alece said...

this was sheer beauty.

No Big Dill said...

I thought that very thing today as my 6 year old said, I wish there was a Children's Day. I said what my mom always said, "Every day is children's day."

It pleased me.

Melissa A said...

What beautiful writing about seeing your mother in yourself. What a beautiful Mother that you have. I read your writing and think, I wish I could always look on the positive or optimistic side. I see my mother in myself also, but I try to see her only in small doses because sometimes she just has a way of zapping out anything positive. Thankfully I have a husband, a son and friends who lift me up when I need it.

Dani said...

LOVE THIS! I am writing about all my moms on my blog this week...so I've linked you up there too. Thanks for sharing!

melissa walker said...

The world would only get better by having another of your mom in it--especially if she's doubled in you!

Desiree said...

what beautiful things to say about you mother!

hoopty doopty said...

I love this. It made me smile.
So many yummy details and memories our mums give us.

Jamie said...

What a great tribute to your mother. I enjoy reading what you have to say. It always brightens my day.

natalie palmer said...

i think of your cute mom every time i hear the dixie chicks. it was the first time i had ever heard them. we were in ninth grade and you invited me along for one of your special after school trips in the egg car to "the store". your mom turned the music way up and you both bopped in your chairs and sang at the top of your lungs. i swear to you, i think of that moment every time i hear them.

Desiree said...

I was thinking about this post as I was putting Gretchen to bed tonight & decided to sing Edelweiss to her -- she LOVED it.
She was nursing and kept pulling off to smile and me and then continued to nurse and smile the entire time I was singing.
So precious.
Thank you for the idea!

RW said...

this is exceptional

Melissa said...

We have a trip planned to Paris for this January - our Trip of a Lifetime, the one we're both always dreamed of going on - so I'm thinking those Eiffel Tower cards are PERFECT! :)

That Tall Girl said...


I hope you share this with your mom--print it out and frame it. Bind it and put it into a small book for her nightstand drawer. She'll love it and be so touched!

Happy Mom's Day!


Travelin'Oma said...

Dear, dear Min,
I wish I were half as wonderful as you make me sound. This is a treasure.

summer said...

this is truly lovely, marta! i love the way you give me such a clear peek into your life in your own beautiful way. and your writing prompts are no less marvelous. there's always a masterpiece of word work within the instructions. i just love that.

LittleHome said...

Beautiful...reading this brought me a smile and tears in the eyes. By becoming a mummy myself I also learned to understand my mom.
And the loving feeling is so recognisable! Thank you for putting it into words.

Little Gray Pixel said...

This made me tear up. I saw this last week and was going to post my "letter" on my blog, but it proved too difficult to write (my mom passed away a year ago this month, and Mother's Day was the last lucid day she had). Maybe next year ... I just wanted to thank you for writing this.

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