Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

What a bittersweet Mother's Day this was, so soon after Michael and I both lost our moms. We wanted it to be a meaningful day, so we had our soul sisters Nancy and Jenn and their older daughter Britt, and Michael's sister Mette and her two boys over for breakfast and a tree planting. Michael had dug a 4 1/2 foot hole the day before, and we dropped the placenta from Asher's birth at the bottom (Nancy and Jenn had been storing it in their freezer for us. We originally had it in our own freezer, but Hannah refused to eat anything in the fridge while it was there.) I said a few words about how the placenta had nourished Asher and now it will nourish the pear tree we were about to plant, and thus nourish and mother our new home (and all of us) in the process. Jenn had bought the pear tree for us shortly after Asher was born, and it had been sitting forlornly in a pot in our old front yard for months; it looks much happier now in the soil (which we enriched with the worms and compost from our vermiculture bin.) I hope we'll be able to take good care of it--I haven't had much luck with plants in the past, but this one is very important to me.

Later in the day, Arin came over (so good to be with both my sons--the big one rocking copious facial hair, the little one rocking his first two teeth! My girl was off gallivanting with my sister and her family in Toronto; her flight gets in later tonight--I am excited to see her and learn more about her adventures.) Arin helped me unpack some of my mom's paintings in the basement and we brought the one above up into the living room. My mom had titled it "Death and Transfiguration"; each letter represents a loved one who died (her parents, six of her brothers and one of her sisters, all connected with bloodlines on the canvas, and a young love). I had never noticed before that the letter G, for her mother Gertrude, is covered with gold, metallic paint, while the other letters are all more of a matte mustard color. It felt meaningful to discover this detail on Mother's Day--my mom was very close to her mom and considered her her guardian angel. It makes a lot of sense that she would make her mom's initial shimmer. That glitter takes on extra meaning for me because the book I'm working on about my mom (more in my head at this point than on the page, alas) is tentatively titled Golden--the title has nothing to do with the painting, but now the painting makes it feel even more apt.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I miss you.


  1. Oh my gosh, Gayle, Mother's Day without either mother. I'm so glad you ritualized the experience and celebrated your own motherhood. I love seeing the photo of your sons and your mother's painting. I wish you well on "Golden."

    We celebrated with Bill's 88-year-old mother and with our lovely kind-of-family, Ray and Jeanna and their two children.

  2. Thank you so much, lovely Donna. I'm so glad you celebrated Mother's Day with such wonderful people.

    I've been trying to email you ever since we saw each other at the reading, but my emails keep bouncing back (and I've never received the one you told me you sent.) Do you have a new email account? I'm not sure what's going on. Hopefully it will get resolved soon and the emails will flow freely again. :)