Tag Archive: Mothers and Daughters


Over the years when each of my daughters and I get together we tend to visit, when not shopping for a special family dinner, beautiful places like gardens, museums, or nature places like the woods or the sea.

One year when spending a day in Newport RI looking at possible venues for her upcoming wedding, my daughter Melissa and I added to our together-field trip, a stop at St. George’s “Chapel” (cathedral!).

Walking through this magnificent church, through the main chapel, side chapels and the arched walkways, we were captivated by the colors and shifting quality of light through the gorgeous stained glass windows and stone openings.

share St.Georges ed two Melissa Light (2)

I found this photo from those many years ago, taken back then with a small unsophisticated point- and- shoot camera but it still evokes the stunning feeling of meeting the Numinous in the play of holy light all around us. Sharing that experience in the church and in our time together still warms me and fills me with a sense of gratitude and the sacred that shows itself in so many ways wherever we are.

This morning on FB this beautiful post…one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen on that  social media  site…popped up and called that experience back into my memory and my heart.

I hope it fills you with the same sense of awe as it does for me.

Light and Color…Luminous and Numinous.

The Celtic Poet Priest John O’Donohue has said that we need to have new names and concepts for “God”. One of his favorites is “The Divine Artist”.

Surely the masterful beauty of Light and Color is primary on the painter’s pallet of the Divine.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

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Mandala Fam Dark Moon

Ah Cancer! Motherhood, Fanily, Nurturing, Food, cooking, the Tribe, gardens, memories and heritage, the home.

Once a Mother, always a mother…this is one strong experience I have learned over the many years I have shared with my daughters since they first popped out and into this world until..well, right now! They are mothers also in the ongoing process of learning how complex a job it is to usher and guide another human being through life and I have loved watching them unfold into this role. I have seen a documentary in which the Dalai Lama himself said that the most important job in the world is that of the Mother..and being an astrological Cancer-rising woman myself, I would have to agree.

My daughters have always been an exquisite delight as I was raising them and I have loved them dearly. There has been laughter, warmth and comfort and I have been blessed that they are fine, funny, responsible and gifted women, mothers, and wives.

But no family is without challenges and heartache and over the years we have had times when things worked exceedingly well between us and times when there was struggle or temporary distance and stresses, grasping for undertanding, grasping for appropriate words to challenge or address perceived slights or disappointments. Add to the mix of “life”, the divorce between myself and their father, my own struggles in single-parenting for many years and the re-arrangement of family loyalties and connections in the course of their own marriages, the balancing of me and their father and in-laws…well, sometimes heartache and frustration are an inevitable part of the  family mix until we learn to share needs and hurts diplomatically, truthfully and gently for the good of all, which surely does take practice! (Knowing when to remain silent and just let it go is a skill as well)

After one such time of challenge in relating in new ways, the dark moon/new moon in Cancer allowed me to look at where we were and re-evaluate and re-new what was important for us as a family and as mother and daughters.

Our family times together with me and the girls doesn’t happen as often as we’d like, living in three different states and they with full-time jobs and families. To bring us together at a time when life may have drifted us apart I called on the word “respect” to remember that in the time when they are now adult, responsible and meeting all kinds of demanding requirements of their own lives and relationships I must “respect” the changes of new family connections, time commitments and responsibilities that re-shape our own original connection.  Anyone who lives in a family knows that words are not always crafted well under duress and both  giving respct and claiming respect for oneself in interactions  is an important part of  “relationship-ing”.

In this mandala, the ocean for me represents the vast sea of emotion that is part and parcel of the connection between my daughters and myself. Compassion, tears, cleansing, moods and tides flow through our lives. Especially true when astrological Cancer is part of the emotional make-up or phase of the moon.

In this mandala, a tablesetting and delicious food…always a virtue of Cancer…has always been a part of our life… cooking and eating together when they were growing up was a priority of our family life and is always a highlight when we manage to get together all…”You (or I) are coming for a visit? What shall we plan for our meal!”. Communion around the dinner table is such a healing ritual….a ritual that is much compromised in this fast and over-scheduled culture.

In this mandala, books and knowledge…always part of our homes. Books, books for grownups, and for children!

And over our heads, the flower Echinacea as a protection and healing totem…Echinacea that stimulates the immune system to be strong, resisting toxins and illness that periodically weakens us or brings us down. Echinacea that stregthness our ties as Mothers and Daughters, with the children ..daughters and sons…the family connection….

This is one of my favorite mandalas…

**** Note: This series is being prepared for a book on the Dark Moon/New Moon, how to form a monthly gathering, the dark moon mandala art project  and journaling with the moon mandala.

Mamma GroupieFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

Hi Mom 100

A special Mother’s Day essay for Mothers and Daughters! And ESPECIALLY for Daughters of Mothers!

Trio

It is sometimes a difficult task for Mothers who are especially bonded to daughters, treasuring their closeness, to be perfectly graceful and accepting about the ending of day to day familial intimacy. Maintaining times together with our ever-widening “tribal” configurations with in-laws, children and grandchildren can be daunting. Yes indeed, we have full lives as well with our own friends, peers and enjoyable social activities after “empty-nest” syndrome, but for those of us who truly enjoy and savor the time with and company of our daughters, that bond of closeness with our girls and the longing to be together to talk and share never actually  goes away.

Fam 2

Being a Taurus woman with a Cancer Rising sign,  it is hard to escape the theme of Mothering. Taurus…the sign of the Earth Mother… and Cancer, the sign of the Great Mother of Home and Hearth makes it hard to escape the deep emotions around closeness and connection with our children..and for me to daughters. (Bonding with sons is a different issue and energy with its own story to tell, but as I did not have sons I refer only to what I know). I used to think that it was just unique to me with this particular astrological heritage, but in talking with many other women who are mothers of daughters, I learned that the bonds run karmically and emotionally deep….and for us Moms, though we celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of our daughters, we all have had to learn to manage the periodic sadness and feelings of momentarilly being left behind, and the energies of trying to subtly and successfully (or not) catch up to stay connected. 

We Three

Living in three different states with families and children, my daughters and I cannot easily get together throughout the year but when we do, now including husbands and children as a larger family group, we enjoy the brief togetherness of “us”  and as MOM #1,  I savor the feelings of familiarity and pleasure knowing even for a day or two the comfort of that “us-ness” once again being together. Altho we each now have quite different lifestyles on our individual paths, our shared tribal sense of The Past and the Present intertwine for a time…and then they are off and speeding down the highway of their individuated paths but  hopefully they have been nurtured (as have I) by re-connecting as the “tribe” from which they were sprung!

Still there are times when things and communications do not go as smoothly or as planned… a momentary situational or emotional “disconnect” and the distance between us seems to have lengthened. A while ago such a thing happened and for now in this moment, I cannot even remember what it was about, but there was something…some misunderstanding, frustration, disappointment or lack of time to connect that left me feeling WAY behind, losing the sense of my place in “family”. It was a morning filled with those feelings when I left the house to go shopping for groceries on a quiet weekend but my heart was filled with longing and a prayer for each of my daughters and for the time when we could be together for a special visit..

 As I turned onto the highway thinking/feeling this distance,  a silver van sped by with a message etched out in the heavily dusty rear view window. It went by SO FAST and raced far ahead of me but I had caught a hint of the message and hit the gas pedal with amazement trying to catch up to the car.

Hi Mom 99

For those who know me here, it is a very familiar occurrence that the “Universe” often gives me instantaneous “feedback” when I am working with intense Soul-stuff necessary to restore inner balance and harmony… an often humorous, inexplicable and surprising communication that soothes, affirms, directs and guides me back to right thinking and peace.

With one hand on the steering wheel and one hand holding my camera to the windshield, I closed in on that speeding vehicle to photograph the message on the rear window of that van, which I KNEW was especially for me in that ILLUSORY moment of feeling “left behind”  through the distance  of physical miles between myself  and my daughters in their truly very busy lives at this time  And there it was…! One of those “I Can’t/CAN believe it” messages on the back of that car when I finally caught up to it ….. “HI MOM!”

Hi Mom 100

I KID YOU NOT! How could this synchronicity have happened in that exact moment of personal mometary longing for connection, closeness and communication with and from the two young women I love most in this world! At the exact moment of reading that message, I in my mind, distinctly heard the music of goodwill and greeting in the unique voices of each of my daughters upon greeting by phone or in person. For sure did I laugh out loud!

Always I am thankful for these messages from the Spirit World that keep me in line and feeling loved and connected. And always I am thankful for having been allowed to be the mother of two of the most beautiful babies/girls/WOMEN on the planet!

Mamma a Girls

Not to ever forget as well these lines from “The Prophet” …a guide and lesson for all Mothers/ Parents to “let go” while still maintaining relationship with our children:

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

To my beautiful daughters Lisa and Melissa. We are ALWAYS connected. Happy Mother’s Day to all three of us… in it together as individual creative and kind women of shared blood, lineage, heritage and memory,  whether nearby or in distance through the miles.  I love you always!

Mamma Groupie

From Mom, aka The Greening Spirit with love.. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

self Oct 2     Always I am so amused to get that immediate feedback from the Universe when I am on track. This morning at our Unitarian Sunday Service in honor of Mother’s Day, the choir sang this song “Calling My Children Home”  which is exactly the theme of this post about a mother’s “heart”.  Here is a beautiful rendition of this, lyrics following, by Emmy Lou Harris. Have a tissue at the ready.

Lyrics:

Those lives were mine to love and cherish.
To guard and guide along life’s way.
Oh God forbid that one should perish.
That one alas should go astray.

Back in the years with all together,
Around the place we’d romp and play.
So lonely now and oft’ times wonder,
Oh will they come back home some day.

I’m lonesome for my precious children,
They live so far away.
Oh may they hear my calling…calling..
and come back home some day.

I gave my all for my dear children,
Their problems still with love I share,
I’d brave life’s storm, defy the tempest
To bring them home from anywhere.

I lived my life my love I gave them,
to guide them through this world of strife,
I hope and pray we’ll live together,
In that great glad here after life.

I’m lonesome for my precious children,
They live so far away.
Oh may they hear my calling…calling.. and come back home some day.

Hat 5

One of the  literary options available to a  Writer is the “Memoir”. Why do we write memoirs? Well, party to more fully understand and process personal life events of deep meaning or confusion,  partly to share with others so that they may recognize parts of their own stories in ours and find comfort, healing, celebration, affirmation and connection… and most significantly, to follow the most important virtue of writing, which is to tell the truth as we remember or experience it at any one time. The Greening Spirit is about life and the cycles of the seasons as well as the cycles of the many seasons we live through emotionally, spiritually or physically. This is one memoir of a season of letting go, of remembering and honoring when things have been difficult.

                                                      
                                                             My Mother’s Hat

When the box arrived from my brother a number of months after Mom’s death, I knew it was going to contain her “furs”.  He really wanted to send them on, saying they were part of my “inheritance” but I really did not want them for  a variety of reasons, both simple and complicated.

One, I don’t wear furs (who does these days?)  and secondly,  I would have to find a place to put the large box in my already-cluttered tiny house while I figured out what to do with the contents and where to dispose of them. (Donate to the theater department at the University?  Take them to a consignment shop? Give them to Goodwill?)

Those are the simple reasons. The complicated ones have to do with emotions and unresolved wounds from our very unfortunate, if not tragic, contentious and dysfunctional relationship filled with disconnected-ness, hostility, punishment, disappointment and pain. My mother was a very complex person.  A very difficult, angry and punishing person. The fact was, I simply did not want anything that belonged to Mom at this time. There was no one treasure or keepsake that I longed for as a reminder of our pained relationship, no one item that I longed for as a memory of a close, caring or supportive mother/daughter relationship, because really though I had longed for it , it just had not been.

When I opened the box, there they were, neatly folded and flattened: a tiny golden mink coat that had been my Nana’s  (my mother’s mother) and passed on to Mom when Nana died. Were they both so TINY? The coat looked like it would fit on a 12 year old child. Next, a grey stole, soft and classy, of the kind worn covering the shoulders in the 40’s through the 60’s before animal rights activists cursed such  apparel, this item of clothing replacing a coat or cape in glamorous style. Underneath that,  a fluffy white rabbit fur jacket that I remember her receiving one Christmas. From Dad, I think. (How did he know? I’d think she bought it for herself, “from him”).  A golden mink hat to go with the mink, all items that I would not wear for sure, although the grey fur stole with satin lining would be kind of stylish “retro” if I were going to a party. I sat looking at these items with a *sigh*. What was I going to do with these things?

There was a canvas bag with zipper which I opened, filled with gloves…tiny ones  for such a tiny pair of hands. Really, I never remember noticing how small my mother’s hands were. I do remember them being deformed at the knuckles from degenerative arthritis and I remember the operations on her knuckles to try to correct them and the ruby ring on her finger that she inherited from her sister Gina who died in Europe. None of these gloves would fit my larger hands, but I knew that these gloves..smooth leather, or felt… had kept her hands warm as a necessity in the brutally cold winters of upstate New York. I also remember that there was a time when gloves were a part of dressing up appropriately for important appearances like church on Easter Sunday when I was very little. Not now. We only wear gloves in cold weather, and mine are stretchy woven things purchased at Job Lot. Warm. Inexpensive, easily replaced when inevitably I would lose one of the pair..  But not classy. No, the gloves would have to go, along with the coats.

Then…then…a small pile of many colored fur hats. Except for the hat of golden mink that apparently matched the fur coat, they were of several varieties of more contemporary and politically correct faux fur. These I lifted out of the box, taking myself and them to the mirror in the bathroom. One by one, I tried them on…each decorated with a flirty little pin on the side. I remembered how in both the dresses, and the pins on the hats, and the “tilt” of the hat on the head, there was always  a sassy slant of decoration or position…a kind of stylish flair that expressed the drama, the theatrical, the “Glamour” of the maternal Family women: the “actress, the attitude, the “posturing” of glamour. Sometimes it embarrassed me greatly when in the presence of my friends, seemingly false, untrue or melodramatic. But now, far away from those times and Mom’s actual presence, and after looking through the albums and pictures of the her family of origin way before I was born, I can kind of smile about this, appreciating both the  valid expressions of high style in the manner of show people and entertainers, and the longing to incorporate beauty, color and drama into the Personas and presentations to the world. No “hausfraus” in smocks  in this side of the family.

So back to the hats. Three of the four..all faux fur of different colors…were a little small and tight for my head size. But one of them, a mix of brown and grey fur, with a silver pin  attached by Mom for “upping the ante, style-wise” or as she would say “you know, for a little ‘décor’”…fit quite nicely. I turned it this way and that to see where the pin might look best, and I guess true to the genes and lineage, tilted it to the right at an angle..a little off-kilter stylish sass…yes, a touch of glamour. And that’s where it looked best.  And…I liked it.

This was new for me. I don’t usually wear hats. And I was uncertain and more than a bit uncomfortable wearing a piece of Mom’s personal clothing. It felt a little spooky, it brought up memories that made me quite sad. But somehow I needed to wear that hat, which I did for two days whenever I went out. It really seemed to be perfect on my head, looked good, and kept thoughts about Mom…always thoughts of confusion and emotional complexity… in my awareness re things between us that have slowly mellowed from anger into sadness so far. Things that simply were and best let go of, and things that “could have been” but never were. But wearing the hat seemed to have a certain connection that was gently opening a feeling of appropriate grief, acknowledged in its own time. Which apparently is now.

Yet there was something about this hat, or wearing this hat that was not comfortable. A subtle scent of it when held in the hand, or when I wore it…a  faint combination of someone else’s natural fragrance, a hint of cigarette smoke and a remembrance of a light cologne. I never ever could bear the smell of cigarette smoke or the ashes, and my eyes always stung and watered when around Mom and her habit,  I constantly moving out of the range of the drifting smoke from the cigarette. And Mom, in her self-centered ways, would become angry with me for this, asserting her right to smoke when she pleased whether or not it was hurtful to others in her presence .We did not have the right to breathe fresh air and not have stinging eyes, but it WAS her right to smoke without interference,  and  for us to ask for it not to be was taken as direct and unfair criticism by her, resisted with hostility.

What to do? The scent though subtle, barely detectable and elusive was nonetheless real, and the feelings and memories associated with it, would not allow me to accept this hat as a fitting keepsake. But I did want it, for in truth we all need a mother….

Not knowing if it would shrink the hat, I took the risk to wash it. I washed it in an organic dish soap (Mrs. Meyer’s) that is very pleasing to me, with the scent of rose geranium. I let it soak for a bit in cold water, squeezing gently for the water, soap and scent to thoroughly cleanse away what was not mine and should be let go of. (Maybe a cleansing of memories as well..?)  I hoped that the hat would not shrink, and handled it gently and with care, rinsing away the old and absorbing the delicate and loving scent of rose geranium. Gently squeezing out the moisture, shaking and fluffing it, it was then  hung over the shower head to dry, and on the third day, hung outside on the brambles of the wild rose bush that crawls over my deck, for the cold and fresh air to add a new aliveness.

Hat

The hat still has Mom’s energy in it because she wore it, in and out of the car on her short and busy trips here and there, and on her head in those fierce winters going in and out of the house to scrape and brush ice and snow off of the car, or shovel a path to it. I’m thinking of her when I see this hat on the shelf her or if I place it on my head, with the silver pin tilted stylishly to the side. It smells of fresh air and rose geranium..an herb of love and beauty and healing of the heart. I think this is a “Remembrance and forgiving in its own time, after a death with un-resolved loose ends”.  It feels gentle.

And that is the story about my mother’s hat. Now mine. Or rather, “Ours”.

Moi hat 2

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