Friday, July 2, 2010

Mom's Birds


My mother was a simple woman who married young and started having children right away.  She was from a large family herself, and this was all she imagined for her future, to be a wife and homemaker in the rural Missouri area close to her mom and siblings.  Life was hard for her, though, my dad had recurring health issues which put him in and out of the hospital on many occasions, and when he worked, even if he brought hom a decent salary, it never seemed to stretch far enough to keep up with the needs of  the eventual eight children they produced.

I was the second child mom delivered. When I was growing up, Mom was too busy wondering which child needed the next pair of shoes the worse to be able to buy pretty things for the house. Most of her home decorating involved determining where to arrange the furniture when the rain started leaking through the ceiling. She had a few items she treasured, one of these was a large wood steamer trunk we always referred to as the Civil War chest. Supposedly it was a relic from that period, but for us it served as coffee table and mom's hope chest. It was where she kept a precious small collection of crystal serving trays and delicate tea towels. Ever so often I would see her take them out and lovingly look through them, then pack them up neatly away from the reach of grubby, clumsy small hands.

My siblings eventually grew up and moved out, as did I.  My father had left her a widow while she was still raising the youngest kids. I moved to California and communicated with her by phone and letter. In 1998 she told me she had cancer and would be going in for surgery. I boarded a plane and flew back for the first visit I had made back home in the 20 years since I'd moved away. Mom was accepting of the fact that her cancer was bad, her health failing. She was at peace with the idea that her days were numbered, and was gifting out her few possessions to her children.  In the years since the kids grew and left, she had the begun to start collecting and displaying her items around her house. She had dolls and sewing machines and ceramic birds. She pressed me to choose some things. I chose a few things for sentimentality's sake, including this ceramic bird figurine. I packed it as well as I could for the flight back home, but a tail broke. We fixed it with some super glue, and it's barely noticeable, I had to look for it when I took it out from its place in the curio cabinet.  I had not thought about this bird for a long while, but I am seeing it anew through my Mom's eyes. Mom waited a long while to be able to gather and display items she loved. It has no monetary value, but it stores such sweet memories for me. Even just now it occurs to me how appropriate I can remember her by this depiction of a lovely bluebird tending to its young.

I am linking up to Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday. Let's join everyone there to see what others have to share.

6 comments:

crazymotheringchick said...

I remember Mom's bird figurines, and how she loved them. When she got that house in Hillsboro, I remember helping her hang a shelf and fill it with birds. We stepped back to look, and goodness, it felt like we were about to be attacked from out of the air! She liked her birds to be in flight. LOL It was really cool to look up at that shelf.

DesigningLadyJane said...

Hmm, that sounds somewhat Hitchcock like. But I'm sure it was lovely.

crazymotheringchick said...

A little freaky and cool, all at the same time. Ha ha

Christina's Creative Side said...

Very sweet story!

Frog Hollow Farm Girl said...

Sending a sweet hello from Frog Hollow Farm. Thank you for stopping by my weeding blog and leaving such a great comment - I love abundance in a garden too! Your shabby chic pieces are just wonderful and I bought three of the same birdhouses in Michaels - they caught my eye and that $6.99 price tag down from $19.99 was a real deal! I have them on my porch scattered between the potted geraniums. Ciao, bella!

Ann said...

HI there Thanks for commenting on my decor dilemma--love your blog too. I am a so-cal gal too. Take care! ann at housefinally