Rose Photo and Mother’s Day Card by Sandy Felder

As Mother’s Day approaches, we asked some of our artists to share stories about their mothers and motherhood. This is what they had to say.

I am the youngest of ten children. My mother taught me many lessons. She is kind, thoughtful, and also very strong. 

When I was a child, I saw two vases on the kitchen table, one full of roses and the other full of  carnations. I asked my mom why she liked carnations when the roses were clearly more beautiful. She said “There is beauty in everything. Come back in two days and tell me what you think”. Two days later, after dinner, she asked me what I thought of the flowers. I said, “The carnations are the beautiful ones, not the wilted roses.” She looked at me, smiled and said there is beauty in everything and everyone — you just have to look for it. Her words stuck with me, and that sentiment is at the core of my artwork. She helped me to realize that there is beauty all around us; we just have to look for it. Often the theme of my paintings are items that are often overlooked but none the less still beautiful. Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

– Grace Julian Murthy

I think not only of my mother on Mother’s Day, but also of those people who are missing their mothers and of those women who want to be mothers but haven’t yet been able to.

My mother raised four daughters of her own, and she has picked up a few family members who, with their mothers gone, think of her as their ‘mom.’

While we celebrate Mother’s Day, we can be mindful that the day may be difficult for those who have lost their mother and those who are struggling to be moms.

– Beth Copp

Seven years ago, we decided to live as an extended family, including my daughter, her husband and two little ones who are now 8 and 10. The challenges and joys have been huge. It has been amazing to see my daughter as a mother, and to revisit the early days of my three children. Right now, the sweetest thing is hearing my grandchildren progress in their piano playing. Happy Mother’s Day to all!

– Amy Shinerock

I see more of my mother in me every day. I treasure the good things and shrug at the bad.

I love flowers. The spring was always the beginning of an exciting season for us. My mother had 92 rosebushes in our backyard. She had red geraniums planted in the front garden, which she kept in the window of the basement over the winter. I don’t have my mom’s green thumbs, but I love flowers.

I love Italian food. Not just any Italian food, but the way my mother cooked it. I make my spaghetti sauce the way she did, using Contadina tomato paste. No other brand would do. My string bean salad is pretty close to my mom’s, but not quite as good. I’m not as good a cook as my mom, but I love Italian food.

I love to bring joy to people. My mom was a giver. She gave of herself in many ways. Whether it was the pineapple cream cake she made for her neighbors or becoming friends with older ladies who she then looked after as they aged. I am not as good to my friends as my mom was to hers, but I love trying to match the high bar she set for me.

– Sandy Felder

My mother is the strongest person I know. She emigrated to the United States as a young woman. She wanted a better life for herself and the family she dreamt of starting. She did not come from a wealthy background. She worked in a factory as a child, making silk flowers, so that she could pay for her school uniform. She grew up speaking Portuguese, but she became fluent in English — so fluent that she corrected the grammar in my school papers for many years. She studied Latin because she was fascinated by language, and she learned French as well. She was an avid reader who loved literature as well as biography. She instilled a love of learning and a respect for hard work in me for which I continue to be grateful. 

My mother had a green thumb, both indoors and out. I remember my father making disparaging comments about her house plant “jungle”, but to me, that “jungle” was a wonder of nature that flourished under my mother’s expert care. I’m glad that I inherited my mother’s green thumb; taking care of plants gives me ongoing joy, and I feel so connected to my mother when I garden or dote upon my houseplants. My husband jokes that, during social isolation, I have named the individual leaves on my houseplants. 

My mother used to remind me to stop and smell the roses, both literally and figuratively. Each spring, when my rose bushes bloom, I stop to smell them every day. They grow along the sidewalk in front of my home, and I am delighted when I see passers-by stop for a smell or a photo. They are my — and my mother’s — gift to the neighborhood.

– Michelle Trammel

If you have stories you would like to share, please contribute them via comment.

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