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When I think of my mom who passed away of ovarian cancer on November 7, 1999 at the age of 63, this is what I see:

It was a hot summer day.  My mom, my sister Aleksandra (we call her Ola or Olenka), and I are in the garden.  I am 6 or 7 years old,  Ola is 3 years younger.  All three of us sit on a checkered blanket with lots of decorative crepe paper strewn around us. I remember orange, blue, green, red, yellow, and white colors.  My mom cuts a long rectangle from a bristol board and she asks me to lean forward.  Then she puts the piece of bristol around my head and makes a mark with a pencil.  She repeats the same procedure with my sister.

I remember not understanding what she was doing exactly and I remember the sheer anticipation. My mom was making hats for me and my sister, and she promised they would be beautiful.  When I saw her cutting the bristol paper, I couldn’t imagine the hats.

My sister and I ask if we could help and my mom gives us tiny plastic scissors.  What I disappointment!  They can’t cut even the smallest pieces of bristol.  They also can’t cut the decorative but flimsy crepe!  My sister and I decide to just watch.

My mom draws a big circle — that would be the brim of the hat.  Then she cuts another circle in the center of the big one — this would be the top of the hat.  Somehow she connects the rectangle with the smaller circle and with the brim using staples.  It doesn’t look nice, I think, but I say nothing. Next she wraps the entire hat with paper crepe, covering all the staples and all the gaps between the cuts and it looks much better.

Then the magic happens!

Her hands move in a strange, fluid, and beautiful way.  My sister and I are memorized seeing all of this unfolding right there, before our eyes.  We see red roses blooming from our mom’s fingers.  We see yellow dahlias, and white lilies flowing down the blanket straight from her hands.  And then we see new flowers, flowers we had never seen before, made up by our mom’s imagination.

Finally, mom arranges the flowers on the brims of the hats and my sister and I stop breathing!  My hat is orange and Ola’s hat is blue.  The flowers bloom on the brims of the hats as if they sprung right there, from the (now) invisible seams.

Even though I can’t see those crepe flowers clearly anymore, I still see them as being the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen.  And when I ask myself why, I know it’s because of the moment of magic my mom’s hands created that hot summer day, and the happiness that joined us then and the one I carry in my memories.

Strangely, I choose to see us from a perspective of a bird’s eye.  I see the garden down below.  I see the blanket and the three of us — my mom’s dark and short hair puffed up with heavy spray, Ola’s and mine blond hair reaching all the way to our waists.  I see the tops of our heads but I know we are laughing.  I see us touching the colorful paper, our bare arms glowing in the soft light of that summer afternoon.  I see us down there.  I don’t know exactly why I choose to see us this way. Perhaps, I want to imagine my mom seeing us today.

 

 

3 Responses to “Mother’s Day Everyday”

  1. Stephanie says:

    Danuta,
    Such a lovely memory to have and such beautiful story-telling. Your words really touched me. You look exactly the same now as you do in your picture–only taller. 🙂
    Happy Mother’s Day,
    Stephanie

    • Danuta Hinc says:

      Thank you, Stephanie,
      When I look at the picture of myself I see resemblance, too … especially my legs … the same shape, just a bit bigger today 😉

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