When we’re born, our souls are like an empty canvas; a vessel waiting to be filled. Mothers are the artists that fill the canvas. Their brushstrokes are heavy and slow; unsure at first of the colors to choose. A swipe of green beauty on a summer’s day–a deep blue of sorrow.
I can’t imagine that I was an easy child to raise. Always running and moving and whirring inside out like a cloud of bumble bees. A jumble of energy with a mouth. But somehow, she did it. She smoothed the edges and worked the clay. And here I am. Unthinkably; here I am.
My mother will always be strength and beauty and pride. My mother will always be faith. She taught me to value people above possessions; she taught me to seek beauty in breaking; and she taught me to face tomorrow with hope and a smile. She taught me to be resourceful and independent, and because of her I can change tires and mow lawns and fix toilets and rewire lamps. She taught me to sew Indian costumes in the middle of the night and to, God help us, never leave the house without a swipe of mascara and blush, and the lipstick to match our nails. She taught me to ask questions and to be better, to always be better.
So many times she burned herself up to gives us the light we needed to find the way. Childhood is unforgiving toward mothers. But a mother myself now, I can understand. She was doing the best she could; doing it all because she loved us. It’s an honor to be her daughter, an honor to be more like her than myself, and an honor to know that the blood in her veins runs through my Rosebud’s. It’s a wonder to me that history would deem my mother ordinary with no tall buildings or statues dedicated in her name. So instead I dedicate myself, my sisters, our seven children. I dedicate my future grandchildren and the generations that follow. May they all know the strength and the faith from which they came.
So this is for you, Momma. In every way, you will always be my heart. You pushed me, loved me, punished me when necessary, held me, and taught me. Far more than my own dreams, I am the fulfillment of your own. Everything that I have known about love and life, I got from you. I want you to know that I love you. I’ve been upheld by you. Thank you for believing in a greater plan before I did and thank you for teaching me how to mother.
And I hope that when you look at us, you see your masterpiece.
Sometimes I look at her, and she will
remind me of someone familiar.
Sometimes I’m upset with her,
because she is not enough like me,
then other times I fear she is.
Sometimes I watch her hands,
do things women do and I think,
everything is moving too fast.
Sometimes I have a fierce urge to hold her in my arms,
and try to hold back the future.
Sometimes when I look at her, she takes
my breath away because she is so pretty.
Sometimes I want to cry for this girl-woman child of mine,
for what might be ahead of her.
Sometimes I’m afraid,
because as she grows I seem
to get smaller, as if her beginning
means my end.
Sometimes I ache for the child she once was, and other times,
I can’t wait for the woman she will be…
Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.