I had never been very close with my mom’s mother. By the time I came I think her love had just been spent. After the death of my grandfather and age 39 it was hard for my grandmother to express love in the same way she had before he passed away.
Not only was her love stopped, but her creativity too. She was a fashion designer, an artist, a gardener, canned her own food, a lover of music. She and I never shared any of those things despite our common interests and the fact that we looked nearly identical. We had no traditions.
I contented myself with sharing creativity and love with my own mother but the dream always existed for more, for a deep and heartfelt relationship with my mother’s mother. I’m not saying this out of bitterness. I understood why my grandmother struggled with this. But I hoped and still in a way do hope though she is long gone.
As I approached the birth of my own daughter I pondered what it would be like to share things that I loved with her. I thought about singing to her and playing music. I thought about dancing and silliness. I thought about food and cookies and coffee. I thought about sewing and crocheting and making little things together for her dolls. I thought about flowers and gardening and saying sweet words to the new seedlings to help them along.
But I did not understand how special it would be to watch my mother, Clare’s grandmother teach Clare about creativity. I did not understand how it would feel to observe my mother loving my daughter – unhindered, not stifled. How POWERFUL! How redemptive.
My mother and I canned strawberry jam and sour cherry preserves this passed weekend and Clare “worked” right alongside us.
How amazing it was to make food together that we will eat together and remember together. Will never forget the sticky feeling on my hands from all the cherry juice. I will not forget seeing my mom’s hair curl from the steam rising from the all the boiling pots. I will never know how many cookies Clare ate as we labored for the beauty of creativity… together.
Thanks for being there for me, Mom. Thanks for being there for Clare.
What do you say, Mom? Let’s make love our tradition.