Today is my mother’s 86th birthday.
I don’t write a lot about my mother. We’re not close, for many reasons that I won’t go into now. We used to be close, but in an unhealthy way. I’ve accepted that our relationship is what it is.
But I’m thinking of my mother today and considering her many talents that, though I didn’t inherit many of them, blessed me and many others through the years.
I am using the past tense when I speak of her use of her talents because most of these she can no longer do. She lives in an assisted living house and has her meals fixed for her. It’s very difficult for her to do handwork because of the arthritis in her hands. She gets around slowly with a cane or walker.
But I think her talents still live within her, and if she could physically do them, she would again bless people with them.
My mother was, as my father called her one time, a “top cook.” I don’t remember ever tasting anything she cooked that tasted awful—unless it happened to be a food that I already detested.
She loved to read cookbooks and experiment with new foods. She seemed to have a sixth sense about what ingredients would work together and produce a tasty dish.
Presentation of food was important to her, too. She liked to transfer dishes from the pans they were cooked in to pretty serving dishes, even for a common supper on a Wednesday night.
If she again had the strength to “put a meal on the table,” as she would say, I would ask her to cook her fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green peas and yeast rolls.
|One of the afghans and the double wedding ring quilt made by my mother.|
My mother is creative and used that creativity to sew many an outfit for me as I was growing up. She made most of the dresses I wore growing up. She almost always made a new outfit for me for the first day of school.
She made her own clothes, too, and shirts for my brothers and father. She could also repair and mend anything brought to her by family and friends.
My mother also quilted. She quilted a blanket that had been pieced together by my father’s sister. Some of the pieces in the quilt are snippets of my grandmother’s dresses.
She also made a double wedding ring quilt for me.
Crocheting and knitting were also some of my mother’s talents. She made many afghans, including a purple and lavender one for me.
|My mother walking the edge of the garden in 1988. She usually visited and worked in the garden several times a day.|
My mother’s thumb is green. Pure green. She was legendary in our community for having a beautiful garden that produced mountains of food, much of which she shared with others. She also raised a variety of flowers and shrubs that enhanced the landscape. She freely gave away clippings to others.
She became a Master Gardener when she was in her 50s or 60s and volunteered her time to help others learn about gardening.
Nowadays my mother enjoys reading, especially mysteries and thrillers. She participates in activities at the home she lives in. She especially enjoys lectures that visitors such as the Lynchburg Museum staff give on a variety of subjects. She goes out to lunch with her sisters. She keeps busy.
Except for reading, I haven’t carried forward my mother’s talents or interests. I don’t cook much, and I don’t enjoy it like she did. I can’t seem to get the hang of sewing or knitting, though I can crochet. I enjoy plants, but I don’t yet have the knowledge that my mother does.
I wish I had the relationship with my mother that I know many people have with their mothers. Of course, wishing for something that isn’t likely to be doesn’t help anyone.
But I do admire many of my mother’s qualities and talents, and I’m grateful for the blessings she’s given to her loved ones and beyond.
Did you inherit any of the talents and interests of your parents or other family members?