The little question I posted on What IF Wednesday about meals sparked an interesting discussion this week with Fimnora Westcaw. Many of you know Fim. She’s been AWOL for a bit trying to find a new groove, but we talk a lot on the phone. And that day we were talking about family dynamics.
There’s a big part of me that feels really empty because, though I had a pretty normal childhood, I never really had a sense of who my mom was beneath the facade she chose to show to everyone. When my siblings and I would ask her, for example, about HER growing up years, her standard answer was there was nothing good to talk about.
Bad childhood followed by a young marriage and divorce, and her marriage to my dad who (as I discovered in my late adult life) was not the crown prince I thought he was. I could only guess at the hurt she was hiding. But raising a family and working two jobs while Arn was off getting his degree for years never left me much time to dwell on it. Plus, she and I hardly ever saw eye-to-eye on anything. Maybe that equals no motivation.
But when she passed away a year after my dad and we were cleaning out the sub-basement in their house, I discovered a whole new side of my mom I never would have suspected. She had a treasure trove of beautiful knick-knacks, dishes, accessories, etc. that I would never have suspected she’d have liked. And the amazing thing was they were ME! And suddenly I felt like I didn’t know this woman at all, that I had missed a chance to not only understand my mother, but maybe me, too.
I kept a curio cabinet she had and filled it with some of those objects that were precious to her. A memorial? Or a reminder that you can’t really know a person just by what you side on the outside. My mother was a beautiful woman even at 78 when she passed away, but she never felt she measured up to the world’s standard of beauty. That made her unhappy and sometimes quite hurtful to us. How I wish I could go back and bridge that gap and find out who she really was under all that hurt and sorrow. Who God made her to be when she was born.
I don’t know much about the treasures she hid except for one piece. It’s a beautiful moonstone tea pot her favorite brother brought her back from the war. I’ve added one of my own to the cabinet. One that his lordship bought for me from a favorite little Edwardian English Tea House we frequented for years that was going out of business. I like seeing them together there.
I handle some of her things now and then and wonder what expectations she had of life when she purchased them. I feel a lot of hurt — hurt that made her hide who she really was. But in some small way I feel like we’ve managed to bond a little bit more after 20 years… It does bring me a certain comfort.
what wishes inside
her precious moonstone tea pot
still wait unfulfilled
The pot on the left and the plate are illustrated with riding to hounds in the English countryside. I couldn’t get the beautiful gold to show up on mom’s moonstone tea pot. (‘Scuse the crappy pix. I think I need something other than a cheap LG phone!) The shape of her pot is so beautiful and different. Exotic, which is why I suspect she loved it so much.
Is there someone in YOUR life you need to take the time to get to know better? Maybe it’s time to lift the lid and see what’s in the tea pot.