My mom kept me in stitches.
She sewed most of my clothes when I was a kid. I remember being three or four, and sitting on her lap while she made clothes - for me, for my dolls, for herself. I was usually surprised if I learned we were going shopping to buy clothes for me. It just didn't happen that often.
After I left home, I didn't get so many handmade clothes any more, but occasionally I would get a gift as a result of Mom's new passion: quilt making.
When I was in college, she gave me a huge, indestructible quilt made of polyester double knit squares, backed with her old curtains, and tied with acrylic yarn. It's, umm, colorful, and still as vivid as the day she made it. Did I mention it is indestructible? To this day, everyone who sees it loves it.
When I moved to a crummy apartment with a tiny kitchen, she made me a little wall hanging that said, "Cheryl's Homemade Bread."
When I admired a pattern called "Storm At Sea" in one of her quilting magazines, she measured the space between my bookcases, and made an wall quilt that fit there perfectly.
And sometimes, say, if she saw a pattern of a girl standing among wheat, holding a sunflower, she would surprise me with a gift just because it reminded her of another little girl who had grown up in Kansas, watching wide-eyed as her Mom created something out of nothing, one stitch at a time.
-- Cheryl Haimann
What Reminds Me of My Mother?
My mother was a great worrier. If my brother were fifteen minutes late from work, she'd start to worry. If I took too long at a local store, she'd walk there to make sure I was all right. One time, the last day of school that year, my brother was very late getting home. She was ready to call the police. As it turns out, he and some friend decided to hang out at a local park (some of the details were foggy, but he apparently had a very good time).
As the years pass, I find myself becoming a worrier. I sometimes find it disturbing that one thing that often reminds me of my mother is me ...
-- Dan Mulhollen
Close to the house, between the stands of papyrus, a tree arches its still-low branches. In the early spring, its leaves unfurl as red as blood, graceful and delicate. The weather warms, and the leaves turn a darker purply-red, making dappled, star-shaped shadows on the stones of the garden.
Sometimes I think that I should trim it a little, perhaps remove a wayward branch here and there, but I've never had the heart to do so since I planted it as a mere twig years ago. It barely survived its first summer here, and when its leaves crumpled in the heat of September and fell, I was sure that it had died, and mourned my loss. Unable to bring myself to pull out the stick, I left it standing there in the puddles of winter. The discovery of new buds the following spring made my heart leap with joy.
The very soil in which that tree germinated from a hand-gathered seed is well known to me: soil that has given birth to many other Japanese maples, as well as geraniums, boxwood, and ivy. The soil was carefully mixed from sand, peat moss and sifted dirt from the meadow in which I played as a child, and the shelter from freezing cold and stifling heat that covered that bed of soil was my mother's greenhouse.
She chose the reddest of her little saplings to give me as a gift, and wrapped its bare roots carefully in moist paper towels and antifungal agents and sent it to me in the mail. It's a beautiful tree, and my treasured reminder of my mother's life-giving hands.
-- Sand Pilarski