A Realization:

Friday, February 15, 2008

There are moments in my life where I am beginning to see, in myself, elements of my Mom. And that's not a bad thing.

{see her camera? that, in and of itself, is a clue!}

Oh, sure-- no one wants to become their mother... Of course not! But the older I get, and the more experience I gain in areas she's an expert in, I begin to really see my mom...maybe to understand her a bit more. And I am grateful for the pieces of her that are appearing in me.

Being home with a small baby, unable to really go out and live the old footloose, fancy-free life of yesterday, I suddenly see the appeal in carving out a little time to make something for myself-- to reclaim a bit of "me" amidst all the giving I am compelled to do. Perhaps this is why my mom was always making something? Dresses for us, cookies for after-school snacks, paintings, homemade play-doh, doll clothes... Maybe by creating something, she was keeping a piece of herself intact.

Not that having little ones to care for is awful-- quite the contrary. Since I've been home with my new son and my new role as a mom, I've felt more alive, more vibrant, more purposeful than I have in a long time. I feel very comfortable and at peace slipping into this role. I look forward to being able to utelize the knowledge and skills my mother gave me throughout my life to make the lives of my children better.

I rather like the idea that I might become my mom, in many ways. She herself has had to come to peace with the ways she became her mom--

While she is very much still her own person, my mom has inherited some very meaningful talents from her mother, my Grandma Florin Young. Grandma passed on her skill with a sewing machine, and my mom spent much of our childhood making us dresses and outfits and duffel bags and blankets...And she is now doing the same for my son.

For my wedding gift, then, Mom was thrilled that I asked for a sewing machine of my own. And while I'll never be as skilled either her or Grandma, I love being able to create little treasures with my machine; I love the feeling of carrying on generations of skill and tradition with every stitch.

Another critical skill my mom learned from her mom was the art of baking. For as long as I've been alive, my mom has been a cake decorating artist-- wedding cakes, birthday cakes, Barbie cakes where the dress IS the cake (remember those??), cupcakes, and cookies upon cookies upon cookies. It was a delight, then, at my grandma's funeral, to hear from lifelong friends of grandma that she was famous for cookies and breads and pies as well. Turns out that the sweet tooth runs in the family.

So it made me smile today when, out of nowhere, I NEEDED to make chocolate chip cookies. Something about being at home all day, cold outside, sunny windows, sleeping baby...a touch of restless reluctance to get to the real chores, maybe??
And so, in the grand tradition of my mother and her mother before her, I baked cookies.
{the apron I'm wearing was made by my mom for my birthday last year...she used vintage linens and trim from my grandmother's era!}

And then the afternoon faded into evening and I was presented with another pocket of time. I think the earlier mom-channeling was still in my blood, because (and this surprises even me), I got it into my head that I could do a little sewing project. Ha! So i made a shoulder bag for my mei tai sling. The pattern was in this clever little sewing book by Lotta Jansdotter, and i was empowered by the simple illustrations and instructions in the book... And though ACTUAL sewing projects usually intimidate me, this was easy and really took no time at all.

{see the little cell phone pocket? That's my ghetto old cell phone that doesn't charge up-- the reason I never call you guys any more.} Though I have so much more in me to say about all of this, (and I REALLY wish my sleep-deprived brain concocted clever sentences like it used to) I've run out of steam... But the bottom line is, I felt like my mom today, and it felt really good. I like that I can still grow and change, and that there is still a whole world out there for me to discover. And I like the direction I'm headed.Thanks, Mom.
(Thanks, Grandma.)


  1. That is so sweet. Your mama is gorgeous :) So are you. I love the bag, what a cool idea! We need to get together sometime soon, I am going stir crazy!

  2. genny9:47 PM

    What a wonderful tribute...brought tears to my eyes. That picture of your mom and her mother is so beautiful--Miss Jeanne gets prettier every time I see her as the years pass. I've thought a lot about this very subject, and even when she was living I used to get a kick out of inadvertently sighing like my mama, having words come out of my mouth, organically, that I'd only heard from her (these days I treasure those realizations!). Now that she's gone, I wish so bad I could carry on some of her artistic talents! You're blessed that you carry that on. I love that even when we were young'uns at HHS, you told me you believed you were meant to be a wife and mother. What better role model could you have?

  3. Emily this is really beautiful. I always remember you being so artsy and creative. I'm impressed with the sewing, I had told my mom it was a dying art, but with my boys always ripping things and losing buttons, I really could use the skills now :)

  4. Oh, that picture of your mom and Grandma made me cry. I miss her.

    YES! I'm excited to talk about TWILIGHT in June!! I'm obssessed ... literally. Love ya!!

  5. Well, I am truly humbled by such a beautiful tribute. Thanks.

  6. What a beautiful tribute - and not just the words. I love the pictures! We are a family of beautiful women, if I do say so myself ;-)

    Love you, Em
    Love you, Mom
    Love you, Grandma

  7. I love that feeling, if you've read my blog at all lately I'm going though something similar. More of a coming of age one then a maternity triggered one but I wanted to send you a note saying I I think it's neat that I've seen the same generation string in my own life lately. It's sweet, and important, I think. Continue enjoying every min of it!

  8. What a wonderful post--I just love it! You are so talented and so are your mom and grandma! . . I love that apron your mom made and how cool that she made it from vintage stuff! That is so perfect. . . and the photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing your talents and history with us. You ladies are definitely chic cool women!

  9. Oh Emily! Thank you for this post about your mom and grandma... and you... Your love for them shines all the way through it!

  10. I love this post! I've been thinking about that myself a lot over the years. I'll say something to my kids that pops into my head and realize that it's something my Mom used to say to me. It always makes me smile. What a sweet tribute to the women who have influenced your life...your mom & grandma. Thanks for the lift.

  11. Incredible women in your life and an incredible post Emily. I loved it.

    That picture of your mom and!

  12. Insightful Nana3:48 PM

    What a nice compliment to your mom. You're pictures are great and your baby is growing cuter every day.

    Insightful Nana

  13. I gave you a blog award tonight! life is settling down and i'm in need of a few head shots/belly shots... feel like a playdate? :)

  14. What a great tribute to your mom. I wish I could put my thoughts about my mom so eloquently. Those pictures of her are beautiful.


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