Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My mother's hands...

My teacherly and wise friend, Casey, shared with me, and a group of enthusiastic teachers a wonderful piece of writing from her blog. Casey is like this. Sharing. She shares sentiment, hope, teaching ideas, and herself at every opportunity. She smiles readily and moves many into being the best they can be as teachers.

Casey is a great person to go to Starbucks with and drink coffee and, well, shop. On one such adventure, we bonded over retro coffee cups. She bought more than I did. The mugs were on sale, but the memory of sharing this purchase with her priceless. Casey’s blog is a mixture of who she is, who she has been, and how she is moved and changed by her students. You should read it.

Casey’s story about her mother’s hands touched me and reminded me of my mother, her hands, my hands, and of a story of my own.

My mother is a delightful person - even more so, because she does not realize this. This is easy for anyone, but her, to see. Evidence of such is seen in her wonderful, caring and giving friends who love her. Her family loves her as well; although we may struggle to make that point utterly clear often enough at times. She is talented and smart. Her quilting and design is perfection and her love of craft inspires many who sew with her and learn sewing from her.

Many years ago, I attended a lecture given by my mother on the subject of crazy quilts, one of her passions. I am proud of my mother and sat quietly and listened intently from the front row. Not long into my mother’s talk, the woman sitting next to me leaned over and whispered into my ear, “Are you her daughter?” I nodded yes, but was a bit surprised that this woman would make the connection between the woman behind the podium and myself. What could she have possibly seen to make this connection?

My mother is petite and well spoken. I am tall and don’t think a whole lot before I open my mouth. She is soft spoken. Not me. She is shy. I am shy, but I don’t think anyone has ever noticed. She dresses impeccably. According to my closet, high tops go with anything, even pearls. My mother wears her hair freshly cut, finely combed, and neat. I have a mass of frizzy curls which sometimes looks good and most of the time looks messy.

Beyond what this woman sitting next to me might have been able to observe, there are also those intimate differences you can’t see, but need to experience, between my mother and me. My mother and I are not alike in just about as many ways as we are alike. The likenesses have taken a long time to recognize, or maybe it is a long time in maturing. My mother is a rock. I am falling gravel. My mother is responsible and neat. I am forever looking for something fun I would rather do than being neat. My mother is organized. I want to be organized, but quite frankly, it is the want I must enjoy. My mother keeps a beautiful kitchen. I have a kitchen. My mother is done with her Christmas shopping and her gifts are wrapped. I am thinking about what needs to be done for Christmas.

After my mother finished speaking, I looked back at this woman and asked her how she knew I was the speaker’s daughter. She smiled and said, “You have your mother’s hands.”

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