Recently my mother sent me a couple of boxes full of stuff that she’d cleaned out of her storage room; stuff to keep or use or send on to my sisters as I saw fit. I didn’t have any expectations when the boxes arrived. There was no one item of hers that I coveted or felt would come to me. I felt only as excited as I usually feel going to a yard sale or a flea market to pick through the trash to find the treasures.
But when I opened the boxes, I realized that my mom had sent me a box of her.
This is her before her daughters were born, when my dad had only just come into her life.
This is her alone in a big city far from home, waiting for her sailor to come back safe.
(Can you see the notes on the perfect-fit bell-bottoms? And the gold jewelry?)
This is her figuring out how to be a mom, make a home, build a family life.
And I learned things about my mom that I never knew. She clipped pictures from magazines of things she wanted to make, or fashion styles she liked… things that inspired her, like a two-dimensional 1970’s version of Pinterest all her own. She collected books on needlework—everything from crochet to crewel to cross-stitch—and there were even a couple of pieces of her handwork in there.
(Totally going to make use of this one.)
And knitting needles! Sandi and I are gearing up to learn how to knit this fall. I even bought a handful of knitting needles at an estate sale on Saturday, and then, bam, I open the box and there’s a little piece of who my mom is: knitting needles, patterns and project books… things that got put away when the practical demands of being a working mom overrode the ideas and the plans and the somedays.
I’ve seen the visually-oriented maker in her come back more in the last few years as she re-landscapes my parents’ yard, paints the house, tiles the bathroom, etc. It may not be needlework or fashion, but the creative beast never dies.
These pieces of her are going to see the light now, through my sisters and me. The ideas, the scribbled notes, the lists…we’ll each use them in our own way. A way she taught us without ever knowing it.
Because someday is today.