I'm sure based on my account, you would think everything in my family is fabulous and has been for generations. Not entirely. The truth is my mother grew up in a very different world from me. Very beautiful and loving, but unstable. She was determined to change her circumstances and break a long cycle in her family of having children too young and building lives on cliffs. She grew into the ultimate champion of personal responsibility.
|My grandmother is on the left|
|L to R: my faaaabulous maternal GG sunning herself on her grand lawn,|
my mother, my uncle, my gorgeous maternal grandmother
My mother is an Aries, and a relentless one. Astrology might not mean anything to you--it means nothing to her--but Aries rules the head, the mind. They obsess on solutions. Aries rarely see problems as insurmountable. They charge forward and love the world of the new. Interestingly enough, this path toward the new took my mother to the old.
|Friday afternoon. My mom made that pillow.|
|Saturday morning. The bandage is off.|
|Saturday evening and we are back to hunting for sticks.|
My parents have been together since eighth grade. My mom dumped my dad three times in the process, presumably all to do with politics. They first connected in health class when they had to do a project on sexually transmitted diseases. The teacher assigned groups with two boys and two girls, probably with the idea of implanting a sense of disgust surrounding sex and the opposite sex. Not a terrible idea. Anyway, my mom was horribly embarrassed to use all of the vocabulary surrounding their assignment: the wonderful world of venereal disease. My dad told her he didn't mind and would read her parts of the presentation. So in a way, VD brought my parents together. Good old fashioned romance.
My dad's family was big and strong. My grandma, Virginia, was a force of nature and was infamous for being able to bring any one of her towering four boys to the ground with a look and a menacing trail of smoke from her perpetual cigarette. Should that fail, a pinch in a strategic spot of the arm that immobilized them. She was not supremely glamorous like my maternal side, but supremely badass. She ran the teachers union, made dinner every night, taught school, and painted all her furniture once a month. Because it was used hard and she liked to keep busy. Sometimes painting over cigarette ash saying I'll catch that next time.
More than anything, my paternal grandmother believed in family. If someone is moving, everyone shows up ready to pack and clean, and don't be too delicate with the stemware because we just don't have the damn time. If someone is getting married, you show up like gypsy landscapers and dig a koi pond. Two hours later you plop the fish in and have some potato salad. Her house was a hub of creative projects and activity. The boys had worthless cars and boats everywhere which she allowed, with one caveat don't you get any oil on my driveway or I'll run your ass over with the lawnmower and make you clean it up. She and my paternal aunts taught my mom how to do family. My mother was an eager student.
|My dad is top left in the multicolor plaid tie. |
The mighty Virginia (Ginny) is front and center.
|Before the move to Columbus, Four of the six. My dad is on the left|
Through this, my mom's family climbed with her. By the time my parents had children, my mom's family had assimilated. We never knew that my mom's family was kind of a mess before we were born and my mom didn't hold it against them. She had guided them into being a real family. My mom went from knowing her grandpa was one of three men (though she chose the one who was there and didn't care otherwise) to old
farms that predate Ohio's
statehood, big gatherings, and a cemetery with 250 years of Joneses if you had
any questions. She carried her many mothers and their knowledge with her upon embarking into motherhood herself. She taught us to love and foster beautiful things but mainly to love and foster each other. The best of both worlds.
|My mom was quite the rebel painting her oak woodwork back then. She was|
inspired after a trip to Charleston.
|Meanwhile across the room, a highly musical lush in training. |
This series still sums us up.
Not pictured: my yet to be born brother
|I set the table more in my mother's uncluttered style than my |
cram that-shit-in signature. The wineglasses are from Goodwill and the water
goblets are vintage Libbey. Also, my mom prefers stainless flatware to silver.
I swear I wasn't adopted.
Happy Mother's Day, to mothers past and present. You may never even realize the full scope of your work.