Saturday, February 20, 2010

materfamilias







As I've mentioned before, I really like Cassandra Barney's artwork.  She has a great blog that I follow and last week she announced that she is wanting people to send in stories about motherhood for small paintings.  You can read more about it here.  


When I read about it, I immediately thought about when my Ella was born.  I didn't have a rocking chair so my mother kindly gave me her grandmother's old rocking chair.  It is a simple, wood, armless, rickety thing, but it meant so much to me ~~ especially since we have such a big family and it is rare to be the recipient of such a treasure.  As is often the case, my first baby was quite fussy, but she liked the rocking motion so we sat in that chair often.  I would feel overwhelmed and then start thinking of my mom rocking me in that very chair, and how her mom rocked her in that very chair, and HER mom rocked her in that very chair and I would suddenly feel a surge of support, buoyed up by all of my mothers way, way back who are part of who I am and whose lives were not so different from mine.  Now as we have been thrust into so much history I have been thinking about this even more.  The house where we are staying has seen many families come and go.  If only the walls could talk.  On Tuesday we went to Hyeres again to hike around our favorite castle ruins.  The first chateau had been there since the 900 something and the city was first settled by Phoenicians in the 4th century BC!  It seems so incredibly distant and it is easy to forget that the people in history and the things that were happening (wars, plagues, celebrations) were real and not simply fairy tales.  All of these things were happening to physical, tangible people who had hopes and dreams, fell in love, had children, cooked dinner, and worried about life just like us!


A couple of years ago I wrote this poem for my mom for Mother's Day:

I sit in this chair and sway
(back and forth, back and forth)
I pat her back and shush
(“There now, there now”)
I sing a soothing tune
(Lullaby, lullaby)
The rhythm transports me.

I see my mothers sway
(back and forth, back and forth)
And hold their little ones
(“There now, there now”)
The image goes back to Eve
(Lullaby, lullaby)
Their voices summon me.

They come together in dynamic color -
An effervescent kaleidoscope of comfort.
Each one adds her unique shape and hue
To this vast maternal spiral.

My mother sat in this chair
(back and forth, back and forth)
She patted backs and shushed
(“There now, there now”)
She sang a soothing tune
(Lullaby, lullaby)
I add my own to these . . . 


For some reason I can just see that kaleidoscope in my head of all the women in my ancestry, their different faces and personalities.   Am I making all of their hard work worthwhile?  I can't wait to meet them!  And it would be amazing to see something like that in a little painting.  I would love to try sometime, but for now maybe Cassandra can.
::who has walked here before us?

2 comments:

Julie said...

I love this post! (But I love all of your posts!) I haven't been on your blog for a bit, and so much has happened! So amazing, the experiences you're having.
Two weeks ago Brock, Grace, and I went to Bloomingon/Normal in the snow for a texile show. We enjoyed the trip, but you were sorely missed!

amylouwho said...

you are amazing.

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