Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mothers' Day

I tire of hearing people bash their mothers. I suppose some people had truly cruel, abusive mothers and that is tragic, but it's the whiny "my Mom is driving me craaazy" stuff that gets to me. There were probably times we both drove each other crazy, but I really miss my mother.

Once she was visiting me when my small quilt group met. One of the women showed a quilt with two sides that represented her parents. The "Dad" side was a bowtie pattern in somber tones. It represented her harsh, cold father. The "Mom" side was a crazy quilt that represented her mother who was disorganized and incompetent and unreliable and self-absorbed. After the group left my Mom sighed deeply and said, "Terry, promise me you'll never make a quilt about me!" I laughed and said, "don't worry, that's not my thing."

What I wish I had told her is that, in some way, all my quilts are about her. She shared her precious art supplies with me when I was very small. We painted pictures together. She taught me to sew and shared her love of art and color and design with me and bought me drawing lessons and painting classes and encouraged me to study art and never told me it was impractical or not important. She hung my paintings and my quilts with pride.
My cousin recently sent me this picture, found among my aunt's (her sister) belongings. I had never seen this picture of my mother before. She was 14 and you can see in this picture how confident and spunky (and how pretty) she was. She was smart and bold and brave. She established the first battered women's shelter in Idaho (which is still in operation and about which women have said their lives were saved because it was there for them) and she always stood up to injustice and prejudice of any kind. And she made the greatest pies—really—the greatest.


  1. I would be very tempted to turn that picture into a quilt. I can see the traits you described for your mother in that picture.

    I recently bought "I Remember Mama" and I loved it.

    Sybil Winfield

  2. A lovely Mom story, Terry! You made my morning.

  3. Anonymous3:04 PM

    Thanks, Terry. I knew I would find an eloquent tribute to our mother here. I have a small paper-pieced quilt patch that was a birthday card, one year when I couldn't afford a gift for her. I am proud of that one little piece--not because I made it but because it touched her so much that she framed it and displayed it proudly for many years. That was Mom--our no. 1 fan.
    I was bragging on Mom's pies in church this morning--she didn't even need strawberries to make rhubarb a heavenly treat!

  4. Terry, the organization that I worked for is among the oldest in the country for domestic violence shelters...just 28 years ago...I applaud your mother's courage and vision and tenacious spirit!

  5. Anonymous10:05 AM

    Terry, I remember you mother as a lady with the greatest sense of humor and also justice. She had the grandest laugh. She was also very stern when it was required. She always had a twinkle in her eye that let you know that everything would be OK with the world.

    I am honored to have known her.


  6. I'm a few days late reading your Mothers' Day post, but you nearly made me cry! How beautiful!! Your Mom was gorgeous...I thought for a minute there that you were going to say that she was Katherine Hepburn, as that is who she looks like in the photo!

  7. Thank you for sharing your memories of your mom with us! her personality shines through in that photo.

  8. What a beautiful statement about your mother. It sounds like you and she had a relationship that was wonderful and that the most important thing she taught you was loyalty to those who love you.
    (about your Mother's Day entry)

  9. I just found you today but am awestruck at your artistic ability and the beauty of your work.

    This essay about your mother is brimming with love. She must have been one spunky lady and left a such a proud legacy.

    I can see that you are a visual artist and I love the photos/images here along with your essays. I don't post photos a lot but you've inspired me to consider doing so.

    I do, however, tell family stories. Hope you stop by (if you can temporarily suspend your no-photo-no-view policy)! :>)