It has swirled on and off my plate this last few months that I may, in all my endeavors be looking for my mother.
Let me back up.
I tend towards the domestic arts. And when I say arts, I don't mean all of them, more like the baking, cooking, hosting arts. I do not tend towards the cleaning arts, which is inconvenient. But hey, we're none of us perfect.
So my mother. Someone brought up that the collection of my experiences constitues what many people gain from their own childhood kitchen. Wow, jaw dropping moment. Yes, I do seem to gravitate towards those that create. Those that make abundance from the hearth. Those with amazing collections of home tid-bits, tales from the stove, bounty to share. In my ideal dream world I would be duchess of a grand farm estate with the funds to build, decorate and bake whatever I wanted (and I would have a cleaning lady, maybe two). That's all really. I just want to get all Martha Stewarty in my heart of hearts.
I was number four of five. Placed somewhere between the middle child and, well, the middle. My own working mother will be remembered for so many things, but our time together in the kitchen won't be one of them. She worked. She worked tirelessly and had five children - can you blame her?
And so I have trotted about life (alright, I have more accurately rammed into life head on), fumbling about the food world, the art world, the writing world. And everywhere I go I have collected wonderful women friends. Somewhere in each one lies a trait I admire. A trait I want in myself. A trait, perhaps, that I might fictionalize into my own upbringing.
Yes, this is perhaps a bit deep for Mouse, but the truth is the truth. This last week found me using a long-handled apple picker to pluck over-sized Belle Flower Apples from a local orchard. As I stood in my boots, rain slinking down my cheeks and apple branches in my eye, I thought of my mom.
Did she ever see me here? Would she, if given a different path, have been the mother to teach me how to pick an orchard?
I think each of us as moms have felt that painful moment when we realize at child number two (or three, or four, or five), that our attention isn't quite as evenly spread out. We remember when there was just one, we slathered them in spirit and education, but when two are on the scene, we must give just a little less. We must make it stretch.
So if my mother's fourth child yearns for this back-to-the-farm experience so deeply, this insight in growing, cooking and forming family life, would she have found it with me had I been number one?
And would I even have liked it all if she did? That is the "light-bulb" moment of this post. I had an incredible knack for arguing just about everything out of my mother's mouth. To that end, she should have steered me clear of being a lawyer, so that I would have run head first into law school. I was, and am, obstinate.
And since her life was so engrossed in the mental wellness of other people's children, I knew somewhere inside that the one thing I wouldn't do was be a caretaker. I wouldn't become a psychologist, a therapist, a doctor. I would not nurture the world.
Except, of course, if you're hungry, and maybe you want a piece of pie and a cup of tea and we can sit and talk for awhile - perhaps about your mother? What was she like? Do you need a hug? I can do that.