Lesson from Mom: Don’t like your portrait? Re-paint it!

In the early years of my life, my mom was the consummate stay-at-home mom. I remember the house was immaculate – crumbs on the floor had a half-life of ten minutes, the sinks and toilets were always clean. She baked bread, muffins, and cookies in endless varieties to suit all picky tastes. We had a huge garden that supplied nearly all of the family’s vegetables for the year, and in late summer and fall I remember my mom freezing, canning, and pickling like mad. Mom sewed clothes and household items for us – every Christmas Morning there was a new outfit hanging on the doorknob, specially chosen and lovingly stitched. She was always there to kiss owies better, shoo us outside or call us in at night with a holler out the back door. I remember the love she wrapped both me and my sister in, with everything she did.

Around the time I was a “Pre-teen” my mom underwent a metamorphic change. Over the course of a few years Mom went from being a sweet housewife who talked about how other people should rock the boat to being the woman who grabbed those gunwales and rocked for all she was worth. She wasn’t happy in her marriage – she did something about it. She didn’t like the school board’s policies and so got elected as a Trustee. Condoms available in the washrooms of the high schools of the Carleton School Board near Ottawa? Thank my mom, folks. She went back to school, at first to do a degree in psychology, but then to fast-track through a nursing program. She learned to sail, bought her first car, dated, moved us into town. Over the years she fixed up that house, and sold it to buy another fixer-upper with even more work needed.

Her close friendship with a former neighbour grew into something more. They’re now married, and live on a lake in the woods in eastern Ontario, only returning to the city house when they must to work. They holiday hiking the Inca trail, exploring Roman and Medieval ruins in the south of France, snorkeling in the Galapagos and scuba diving in the Maldives. She has been shut out of her elder daughter’s life, and has never held or kissed her granddaughter. But she hasn’t given up, she sends gifts and all the love she can to ensure that little Naomi learns and understands at some point that she has a Granna who loves her. Mom adores Cameron, and lavishes love on him, spoils him, cuddles him, kisses him. They share ‘big hugs’ over Skype, and I love to watch my little sweetheart wrap his arms around himself to show her he loves her, and see her doing the same right back.

Was it hard being her daughter over those years? Hell, yeah. My life got torn apart, turned upside down, a big pile of shit added, and then tossed in a blender. I was miserable.

But now as an adult I’m glad. I got to see a rare treat: a woman I love re-paint her portrait when she didn’t like what she saw. She is lovely, strong, supportive, and beautiful. I can honestly say I’m proud of my mother, she is one of the strongest women I know, and I’m glad to be her daughter.


My first blog-blast participation! Got a blog? Paint a portrait of your mother or motherhood. Go here for more information. Not sure if you’re supposed to be a ‘member’ of the Parent Bloggers Network to take part or not, but what the hay. Felt good.


One response to “Lesson from Mom: Don’t like your portrait? Re-paint it!

  1. Pingback: The Parent Bloggers Network » Blog Blast - Microsoft’s “Portraits of Mom”·

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