Sunday, December 10, 2006

mama's hands

Maybe because today is Mama's 74th birthday, I've been thinking a lot about her this week. About how much she did for us as kids. About the things she taught us to do. About the things she taught us to love.

When I was 18 months old, I had corrective surgery for crossed eyes. I actually remember being in the hospital and kicking the doctor in the chest because he wanted to look at my eyes with a light... but my eyes hurt and I didn't want him to look.

But I remember more the fact that Mama stayed with me the entire two days I was there. Waking up every hour in the middle of the night, scared because I was not in my bed and there were bandages over my eyes so I could not see, saying, "Mama?"

And her hand on my forehead, smoothing my hair back, her sweet voice in reply, "yes, baby, I'm still here."

When I went home from the hospital, I had a brand new pair of glasses that Mama let me pick out. Smart woman that. Knowing that if I got to pick my favorite color, I'd wear them. Never caring when I picked pink, red, purple... didn't matter to Mama. She knew I'd wear those darn glasses because I got to pick them. And because Mama made me new dresses to match my glasses!

Yep, I was a clotheshorse that early.

I learned to love sewing by watching Mama make my dresses. When I was really small, I'd stand on a stepstool, elbow on the edge of the machine, chin on my hand, eyes riveted to the movement of the fabric... head bobbing up and down in time with the needle. As I got older, the only change was the stepstool. Didn't need it anymore since I got so tall so early.

And I could hardly wait for Mama to teach me to sew. She made such pretty things with all that sewing. Dresses for my sister and me... and our dolls. Shirts and pants for my brothers. Curtains for our windows. Purses and aprons and pillows. She could sew anything!

And my favorite part of watching Mama sew was to see how her hands held the fabric... and how she used them to pin... and how those beautiful hands would guide the fabric through the machine... fingers jumping out of the way of the needle. Pop, pop, pop... out of the way, one by one, just at the last second.

I saw Mama's hands today as I sewed.

My hands hold the fabric just like she did. My hands pin fabric just like she did. My hands guide the fabric the same way... fingers jumping out of the way of the needle. Pop, pop, pop... out of the way, one by one, just at the last second.

It was very cool to realize and felt like I'd gotten a big hug from Mama today.

Happy birthday Mama... I love you so very much.

...may there be mercy and many more birthdays for Mama.


SuziQoregon said...

What a beautiful post!!

Karen :) said...


Judy said...

I love watching people's hands work! The first place I became consciously aware that I do this was the laundramat I used to go to in Brooklyn. I loved wathcing people fold their stuff... some careful and precise, some quickly and sloppily. I have never watched my own, though.

But I am so glad that you see your mom's in yours! Those observations are the stuff of a sweet life!