Mother’s Day: Pears, pincushions and lop-sided pottery

Pretty awesome pear isn’t it. It is actually a pin cushion. No, really, it is. And there is a pretty cool story attached to it.

When my Dad decided he would live with my sister Stacey and her family in Oklahoma I went to Blacksburg to help with the move. My job was to help sort and pack the house. There would be what Dad was taking with him, what my siblings were taking and what would be going to charity.

I sorted. I sorted a lot. I sorted through boxes that were haphazardly packed up during the last move, when my late Mom’s health and Dad’s age required a smaller, more manageable house. I sorted through all of Dad’s clothing, making pile of what he wore, what he didn’t and what he never opened from the myriad birthday and Father’s Day gifts we gave him. And I sorted through a number of memories, dividing up photos and Christmas ornaments. Yep, I sorted for days.

When I came across Mom’s sewing and button boxes I found something very special. There it was, the pear. My pear. My pear-shaped pincushion.  I made it for my Mom when I was a child, perhaps for a Mother’s Day gift. Looking at it now I realize I must have been pretty young. Young enough that whatever teacher I had at the time probably ran the pincushion through a sewing machine. I know I made it for my Mom, but I am finding it hard to believe my sewing skills were that advanced. If they were than all I can say is, in the sewing department, it has been all downhill for me since then.

IMG_1206I took the pincushion, removed the pins and took it to the kitchen sink to clean it. I washed off the years of dust and some smudges. While I was washing it I thought about how it was such a Mom thing to do, to keep a simple pin cushion all those years. And it reminded me how much I miss her.

I love my Dad. And he is the best Dad that he can be and I know he loves me. He is just not as emotional or sentimental a person as my Mom was. He is very much a child of the Depression, as was my Mom, but I think the accountant and business side of him often sees more the monetary value in an item than the sentimental. Of the two, Mom cherished more the moments.

For years I did my best to make my Dad proud. But he is not a man who would ever admit to being so. After more than a decade of therapy and happy hours, I truly know he is proud of me, he just can’t really say it. It took me years to realize that he is who he is and he is not going to change. But at that moment, when I was washing the pincushion, I finally realized something pretty amazing. I realized that all those years, trying to compete with my siblings for Dad’s approval, I neglected to see how proud my Mom was of me and how she showed it. I just wasn’t paying attention.

Here is a pin cushion I made her as a child, and she kept it for decades in her sewing box. There is a jacked-up bowl I made in pottery class that was, for years, on display in our kitchen. It was not the fancy crystal bowl that was front and center on the table, it was my lopsided attempt at pottery. She was proud of what I did, even when I wasn’t proud of myself.

My biggest regret is that I never came to this realization when she was alive. I know my Mom knew I loved her. I just don’t know if she knew how proud I was of her. In the four years since her death, I have told her countless times that I love her and am proud of her in my heart. I hope she can hear me.

Thankfully, the pincushion survived the wash and now sits in my sewing box. I am sure many of your own Moms have the “pincushions” and “pottery” you made them. And if you are lucky enough to still have your Mom with you, you might want to let her know that you are proud of her too.

Happy Mother’s Day.

A couple of more my Mom posts here and here. She deserves so many, many more.

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