Monday, May 16, 2011
happy birthday mom
Just a few rambly vignettes and thoughts today. Do you remember this about Mother?
*She loved chocolate and a scoop of ice cream in a cantaloupe half.
*She had a crazy thing going for paint. She would wake up one morning and decide to paint over furniture, picture frames, walls, etc. She did this often. I think she just got bored looking at the 'same old' and was her attempt to spice things up.
*She was a woman of high energy. Always had a project going. And worked in a kind of frenzied way, so much so that when it was over she usually crashed. Then rested. Until the next project.
*Had an over-the-top love for her kids. Despite all clear evidence and whether we deserved it or not, she thought we were wonderful.
*At age 32 and with 5 children, she went back to school to finish her degree. Took community courses at PVC and eventually finished up at University of Arizona. Oh, the memory of those summers in Tucson.
*She could be feisty, fiery, but never mean. Sometimes emotional, true. But very kind hearted. And a giver, a real giver. Often at great cost to herself.
*She was hugely creative and went in phases: One summer she got a wild hair to take up sewing. She claimed that she had always felt bad that Grandma Arnett was such a wonderful seamstress and she not so much. Never mind that she didn’t actually enjoy sewing. So to prove to herself (and to Dad) she bought fabric and sewed something nearly everyday. I was the grateful beneficiary of this craze and every Sunday sported a new dress and I had more skirts and culottes (they were the sytle then) than I any girl I know. And she too had a new dress a week. And then suddenly she packed up the fabric and was done. On to something else.
*She was a curious person and wanted new experiences. And had a sense of always striving to be better, to learn, to grow.
*She was a bird watcher and card carrying member of Blythe intelligentsia. :)
*She sang beautifully.
*She had an eye for beauty and style. She was herself a beautiful woman. She loved makeup and dressing up. And she had a mild obsession with footwear. Dad said when he married her she had four barrels of shoes.
Remarkable and endearing in so many ways.
*St. David, Arizona and Blythe, California were not exactly hotbeds of culture and refinement or of anything really. Bleak and dreary, although my dad maintained they had their own kind of beauty and attraction. But the life she carved out for herself out of those obscure and desolate places was one of strength and resilience because she never gave in to her environment. She always had hope and faith. And was motivated by ideas, grand ideas. People, from school or church, would drop by our house just to have a gospel discussion or a political chat with her. I thought this was perfectly normal.
She loved the gospel and loved talking about it. The ideas and doctrine fascinated her and she was good at sharing it with others.
*As she grew and matured in life she went beyond the churchy-surfacy. She tried, really tried, to internalize Christ-like attributes. I think she grew to have a great understanding of forgiveness and faith. In fact, her example of living out these two traits is sort of the over arching theme of her life.
She taught me that what is said is important and so is what is not said:
I have my mothers journals. And they are priceless. They document the growth of a woman who has matured in gospel living. You can see her struggles in her journal pages. There are, here and there, a handful of pages ripped out at a time. Someone had offended her, or she was hurt, and torn up so mother used her journal to vent and work through her thoughts. And then after struggle and prayer, she decided to forgive. And she didn’t want those pages to stand, because she had moved on. And she didn’t want others to be hurt by what she was feeling at the time, a little mercy was required. I know this because she told me. She said to me, " Even the Lord doesn't judge us until this life is over because there is more to life and a person than our very worst moment. A person can change and grow". Those ripped out pages speak volumes to me.
And her faith. If she was anything, she was a woman of faith. She believed, even when she wasn't always sure, and she lived out her faith with optimism and hope.
Oh I know you are thinking in her death and absence I am making her sound perfect. Nope. She would be the first to dispel that notion. But I will say this, or rather leave you with the words of King Arthur, when Pellinor asks him 'who was that'?
King Arthur: One of what we all are Pelli. Less than a drop in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea. But it seems that some of the drops sparkle, Pelli. Some of them do sparkle!
-From the play, Camelot