Wrapped in LovePosted: May 11, 2014
I won’t be wearing a red rose today. A red rose on Mother’s Day means one’s mother is still among the living. I am now “unmothered.”
But I don’t think that word will ever apply, for I am wrapped in her memories and steeped in her love.
You cannot enter my house without walking by my mama’s monkey grass. I dug it up from her yard after she died and even brought some Delta dirt home in a crystal candy dish. The iris to the left came from William Faulkner’s yard in Oxford, Mississippi.
The first thing you see upon entering my house is the vase of Mississippi magnolias on the dining room table. Mama made that vase using an oatmeal box when she took ceramics one summer. Mama never stopped learning. She taught school all her life and took classes at Delta State University on the side. She had a BS with a double major in history and a major in elementary education. She had an MS in special education. She had a specialists degree in education and was a Phi Beta Kappa.
In my breakfast room is a lamp that Mama bought at Levingston’s in Cleveland about 1960. She liked the style of it. Next to the lamp is another vase that Mama made, and she made this one out of the red Kemper County clay she dug up next to the stream in the woods on our family land in Mississippi. It didn’t process exactly right in the kiln and came out red and white, but that just adds to the beauty of it, she said. Not everything is perfect. The picture on the wall shows a lighthouse my sister and I visited in Oregon a few years ago.
Mama took up macrame when it was popular back in the 1970s and 80s. She made all sorts of fancy things. All I’ve got left is a small wrapped bottle on a shelf in my living room. It stands in front of the Boone family books. My mama’s mother was a Boone; we’re kin to Daniel. The little nesting doll next to the vase, Colleen brought me back from Russia when she went to her son’s wedding over there. And the puffin above it came from the Maritimes where my sister and I traveled last summer.
On my bedroom wall hangs a picture that used to hang on Mama’s bedroom wall when I was a little girl. I’d stare at that picture. I loved it because it has horses in it and a dog, but also because it only has five colors: light brown, dark brown, white, red, and black. This picture had belonged to my grandfather. Mama had it re-framed by Mr. Winters in Cleveland, and he told her she had something special there.
Another special thing I have on my bedroom wall is a framed piece with a poem my mother once wrote stitched on fabric by my sister:
Old things are what I like best,
A spinning wheel and a teakwood chest,
A lamp, a teapot, and a cherry stand,
All cared for by a gnarled old hand.
Yes, my life is wrapped up in her, and I have many possessions that were cared for by her hand that grew gnarled. That keeps her with me. I will never wear a white rose on Mother’s Day, signifying that my mother is gone. She will never be gone. I may change the tradition, though. I may wear a pink flower. My mama is not here physically, but my mama is here.