For my Mother

Happy Birthday Ma!

Who knows what people saw 65 years ago when they looked at this child..

A child from a family of very modest means.

A child somewhere  well down the hand-me-down line.

A child  interrupted from a rough and tumble outdoor game.

I know what I see Ma…

I see you and all you were becoming.

The first time I saw this picture I laughed out loud at the white clip-on frilly collar. To me, it was immediate and absolute proof  that your life’s  quest   had already begun… so very long ago… almost at the beginning.

I remember the tale you told of getting your first glasses shortly after this picture was taken.

 Your discovery that trees had discrete and unto- themselves beautiful parts, leaves, twigs, branches .

That stepping up close to view the parts and stepping back to view the totality of  the  tree  changed the way you saw the world forever, physically and mentally.

That talk with you  changed my view of the world Ma. It made my life richer.

The desire to bring beauty and order to life, in a landscape barren of both  far too often,  led you  down many trails beyond that first one with the clip-on collar, Ma.

Thank you for all the years and adventures   I’ve had  walking   those trails with you.

Thank you Ma.

Happy Birthday Ma!

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Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 10:10 am  Comments (14)  

14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. love the photo!Thanks..

  2. I feel a deep sadness when I hear of women who have not had the lasting bond with their mothers, even long after they have passed from us. For those who have shared that special mother/daughter closeness – how fortunate you are.

    AK Pi – I have no doubt in my mind, just by your thoughtful words and deep introspection, that you and your mother were truly blessed to have one another.

  3. AK Pi, I’m privileged that you have shared with me some of your stories about the great woman your mom is, as well as some of the trials she went through as a single mom raising her youngsters, and the service she gave to others during her distinguished careers. As you go along with this fine new blog, if you wonder about including more tales about your mom, know that you can’t go wrong sharing her life with us here to illuminate any points that you might want to make.

  4. A lovely tribute to a woman who guided wonderful daughters toward a world of caring and sharing. Treasure her!

    • Happy Birthday and best wishes for many, many more! Great tribute AkPi.

  5. Pi, Just from reading what you and your sisters have
    written on mudflats and walkabout, your strength of
    character, humor and stubborness, it is clear you had to have had a great mother.
    And I sure do remember the amazing discovery that leaves
    could be seen from the ground..not just with ones face
    into the branches…
    Happy to have found your blog.

  6. I love the collar, the outfit, and especially the rope. I had a lasso as a kid too. I grew up watching Western movies and always fancied myself a cowboy. Now I’m a Maverick, Alaska Bush Maverick.

    • 🙂

  7. Thank you, Thank you!!! It brought me some tears. (I’m sure I thought that silly-looking collar was lovely!!!)

    • Please, no tears, ma!
      This is a celebration!
      One of the gifts you gave us was the desire to look at things from many perspectives, many angles.
      For me, here on your birthday, it has been to try to think about who-you-are other -than -my- mother.
      It’s very hard to step away or back far enough to grant our parents their full humanity. They are so intertwined in all our memories from the beginnings of our selves.
      This picture delights me because it says something about you beyond mom-hood.

      The reaching for sense and beauty that made your children’s lives richer, your student’s lives fuller ,and the law we live by more sensible was all wrapped up in your package from the beginning … and in that frilly collar 🙂

      Oh, the useful work which grew from the hands which clipped that collar on.
      Work I can’t seperate from myself-
      The gardens of flowers and food, intermingled beauty and utility, the beautiful breads , cupboards full of canned food…
      The miles and miles of lace , rick-rack and special buttons sewn on our prettier-than-store-bought school dresses, the smocked pinafores and velvet jackets you made us for Easter, the endless hours of darning and patching which kept us clothed and cozy…

      Patching US up when we smacked into trees on our sleds, slid into ravines on our cardboard-magic-carpets, fell off fences, or out of trees…

      It’s taken me my lifetime to see the spirit which guides those hands has never accepted what merely is but has always striven for what can be.
      You patched up our community when a political split threatened to split us wide apart. The reconciliation meetings would not have happened without you, ma.
      So many, many more works ..
      No crying, please, ma.
      Lots and lots of laughing and maybe some of your famous cinnamon rolls to celebrate?

      • You see so much promise in the collar and the stance of that young lady.
        From the stories you have shared AK Pi it is clear that young girl grew up to be one VERY special lady who raised still MORE special women.
        I feel special to count you and one of your dear sis as someone I know 🙂 and care so much about.
        Thanks for sharing this little insight to your dear relationship!!

  8. Pi – You are one in a million with a one in a million mother. Yes, there are many moms and daughters who are close, but how many can so readily say such personal and meaningful words to one another, let alone on a public forum. How absolutely wonderful, and I only wish my mother was still alive so I could tell her all the good things that it took me a lifetime to learn about her. I can only hope that I have been half the good and kind person that she was. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

    • We had our moments, ma and I 😉
      I well remember the raised brow which stopped me dead in whatever foolishness I was up to.
      And will never forget her cry of anguish over some teenaged stupdity of mine
      ” I despair of ever civilizing you ! ”
      Might have been the time I got sent down from the table for yelling about the Viet Nam war instead of talking about it. I’m not sure…
      We were allowed to talk about anything at the family table as long as we were civil and worked at developing reasoned arguments. Yelling at people was not allowed.

      I too hope I have passed on the best of my beginnings to my son.

      We grands , at the behest of my ma, planted a garden for my grandchild when we went to welcome the child into the family. I have hopes the child who delights in the bounty of that garden every year someday comes to know it expresses generations of hope for the future -so much of which originates with ma.

  9. You ladies make me miss my Mother very much. She too was all that plus more in her very own womanly way.

    Thank you to Pi’s Mother for bringing up an open minded lady to help us challenge the hardships that Dirty Alaska Politics has layed on our doorsteps all over our great state.


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