My children are grown. The days of milk-carton-post-office-boxes and little children returning home with handmade-heart-shaped-envelopes filled with Valentines, which had been reciprocally exchanged with school-mates is, for me, a Valentine’s Day of the past. Although most may consider Valentine’s Day an adult event—there is nothing more loving or amazingly adorable than little children celebrating love on Valentine’s Day!
Little hands practice dexterity as they carefully paint elbow-macaroni and with all of their heartfelt earnestness make a courageous effort to string each noodle onto yarn—creating a necklace. Eye and hand coordination is improved as they attempt to position buttons just where their little hearts desire on hand-made Valentines. As a Post-Mommy, I felt a heart-tug to connect with all of the Current Day Mommies, envy was only my first thought—it soon abated as I was washed with the joyful memories of my very own Valentine’s Days with my children.
Recalling that I added food coloring to everything I could think of; we celebrated with pink cream cheese on bagels, pink pancakes shaped into hearts and pink mashed potatoes—I realize I live in fear of an FDA announcement that my magic-food-coloring will be discovered as a cause of some horrific health issue…I’m just sayin’…we even ate green eggs and ham!
Long before glitter became a key ingredient in the cosmetic industry Mommies could be seen wearing glimmering specks upon their smiling faces (in their hair, on their clothes…for days.) It seemed glitter, on or around Valentine’s Day, traveled in the wind, on the wings of little-cupid-angel-children—and, it flew home—to Mommy.
Note to Current Day Mommies;
Once your children are grown and as you (silently) observe, as they venture out into the world—to—yes, love someone else…(remember that’s the goal) please know, you were their very first Valentine. The love between a parent and a child can be beautifully witnessed on a holiday like Valentine’s Day. That love, followed to fruition, is the seedling for your children to become adults, who love beautifully and who can be loved.
Mommy is the first Valentine…
Happy Valentine’s Day!
We all have dreams. Hopes, wishes and—if we are tremendously honest and—we have removed every ounce of our political correctness—we have…expectations. The P.C. I am referring to has nothing to do with politics, ethnicity or religion. This area of political correctness is far more powerful and has the opportunity to be even more damaging. This version of political correctness I refer to as “Mommy P.C.” The unspoken, unsaid wishes of Mom’s everywhere, which by the way, are as varied as the wonderful children on the planet.
Here’s an example of a “Mommy-P.C.” I struggle with. (Please note; the “Mommy-P.C.” changes, dependent on the age of your children and is never stationary nor to be considered true for all time! Whew!)
EXAMPLE A: “When you have children, if that is what you choose to do, I hope you will invite me to participate.”
Do you see the disclaimer? The empowerment granted to the child and—the angst of emotions I am feeling as I try desperately not to place my beliefs and my personal decisions onto my child?
What I mean to say is, “When you have children, as many as you can afford, (Ha-Ha I like that part!) I hope to be very important in their lives.” I have dreams! Gigi dreams! (Gigi is the self-selected Grandmother name I have adopted, albeit pre-Grandchildren.)
Back to the story of the stairs and dreams. One day as I was basking in the warmth and beauty of The Cottage at Rooster Ridge the peacefulness swept over me, as it always does. It is in this little cottage that I write, paint, create and ponder. The downstairs of the cottage, at this time, serves to room our guests, while the upstairs provides a sanctuary for me to be an artist—which I am so very grateful for.
As I was sitting one day I gazed upon the tiny wooden stairway that leads up to my studio, I found myself projecting forward in time as a daydream gently unfolded before me. I saw little children climbing up the stairs. My daydream sent me to a future point in time when the upstairs could no longer be relegated to just me, but also to little (visiting) children…grandchildren…my grandchildren! Opps! I said it!
As I traveled on the clouds of my charming little dream I envisioned one-piece jammies with rubberized feet, soft baby hair and giggles. Simultaneously, as I traveled forward in my daydream an aspect of my mind transcended backward in time to the past—where memories which held the scents and sounds of young children filling a home would always live.
It was during that daydream that the inspiration came to me to paint words on the stairs to be read as children went upstairs to have sweet dreams of their own. (Not to mention the perfect photo opportunity of the children sitting on the stairs next to the word of their choice.)
The staircase is wonderful in the cottage, the wood has aged and resonates with a character and history of richness that only time can bring. It’s memories are etched and dug into the knots and nail holes which we refuse to erase.
With stencils in hand, I began, completely forgetting every ounce of “Mommy-P.C.” I have learned through the years. As I painted the words; now—I—lay—me—down—to—sleep.
I just did it—I put my dream out there for all to see. I choose not to attach any expectations, but rather, I shall just relish in the joy it brings to know that I still have dreams, even…Post-Mommy!
While taking photographs in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge for yesterday’s blog entry, The Sign Says… I found myself taking photographs of an open cupboard filled with ceramics which were made by my children. Made—as in past tense, at least fifteen years ago—they are “vintage pieces.” (Open numbered cupboard – Pottery Barn) http://www.potterybarn.com/products/cubby-organizer/
As I reflected, I realized that I certainly could not become a part of the successful team of “mommy-bloggers.” If I was to be considered anything in the realm of Mommy-dom, I guess I would be referred to as a “Post-Mom.” Yet, I still resonated with all of those Mommies of young children—we were, for all time, kindred spirits.
I had the opportunity once to stay with an Amish family. Our worlds were complete polar opposites, as you can well imagine. Yet, within the first five minutes of meeting the “Mother” of the home, she asked, “Is ye a Mother?” with my affirmation of “Yes, of two.”—she began to share the story of the loss of one of her children. We were forever bonded at that moment—as two Mom’s, who, loved their children to an extent that I believe only other Mom’s fully understand. We lived in different worlds, yet in the world of the love of a Mother, we were identical.
I love speaking with new Mom’s, current Mom’s and Mom’s to be. I have weathered the storm of the empty nest syndrome, although at Rooster Ridge it is considered an empty roost! Having spent years defining myself in part, and—at times, in whole as “someone’s Mom” I have managed to emerge fulfilled and with a feeling of purpose. I do not want to sound too proud, as it was rough at times and I did not arrive here necessarily as gracefully as I would have anticipated.
I can remember having little children like it was yesterday. I can close my eyes and feel the joy, the love, the worry and concern. I remember at times feeling very much alone in the process of being a Mom. I will also admit, having young children was the best time of my life—even when it wasn’t.
So I refuse to completely let go of Mommy-dom! I believe those of us who have traveled the path of motherhood have valuable insight and lessons to pass on—or understanding, compassion or just a view from further away in the timeline of life. It seems fitting within the heading of Symbolism Abounds, at times, it is appropriate to reflect upon the cherished path of motherhood. Thus the creation of Post-Mommy-Blog: Vol#1: Issue#1. More to come!
Friends, family and guests who visit the Cottage at Rooster Ridge always pause and examine the ceramic collection. Those who are familiar with the artists often ask which pieces belong to which artist. Often, some are blissfully carried back to a yesterday as they recall the ceramic jewels they were once gifted. At times stories are shared and always, the ceramic pieces are appreciated and bring joy, as did the children that created them.
Display your young artists’ work in your cottage, even when they are no longer young!