Dear Mom, I miss you today.
I miss you today. When I was growing up, I was pretty tight-lipped. I think it was my way of having some privacy. Still, there are things we never talked about that are on my mind today. Probably because I’ve been writing about going to seminary, and what Dad seemed to think about my decision.
Even though you didn’t say much about this, I knew you were proud of me and I never wondered whether I had your blessing. From the beginning you wanted to know about what I was studying, even though I didn’t always want to talk about it.
I can’t thank you enough for showing an interest in my studies and writing, even though you may not have agreed with everything I wrote. I often wonder whether you wanted to go back for more education. You would have been an outstanding student.
As a child and teenager I was proud that you and Dad each had the equivalent of college degrees. Most of my friends’ parents did not. I also knew, though I never said so, that you had a different kind of intelligence and creativity than Dad had. You were quick, eager to learn, and appreciative of help.
I still remember your interest in the music I practised for Mrs. Hanks. Especially the more advanced pieces. You commented about several of them, and suggested you might someday learn to play them. After I left for college, you bought a few classical music books and started working on your favorite pieces.
When I came home to visit I often heard you playing ‘my’ pieces on the piano. I was proud of the way you played the piano. Still, I resented hearing you play ‘my’ pieces. It felt intrusive, and a bit like you were being a copy-cat.
I know that’s neither fair nor kind. It was how I felt back then. Today I believe you were looking for something missing in your life. It couldn’t have been easy to stop and play the piano just for yourself when we all needed attention.
I wonder what you wanted from me that I could have given you. I also wonder what dreams you gave up when you married Dad. Was one of them a dream about studying music or art?
As for sewing, you were the best! I never felt ashamed of anything you made for me. I was always proud to say my Mom made this dress or that skirt. I think Dad took the photo at the top on Easter Sunday. Possibly 1952? Sister #4 hadn’t yet arrived.
Here another favorite photo. It’s a bit grainy, but I still love it. Is this also an Easter dress? I’m pretty sure you made it. In any case, I felt totally feminine wearing it! I like seeing Sister #4 looking up at me. I think this was in 1956/57. I was 13 or 14; Sister #4 was 3 or 4.
If you’d been living in California with me in the 1970s, I’d like to think you would have gone to seminary, too. And maybe even joined the women’s movement! I can dream, can’t I? Actually, I don’t think that’s a far-fetched dream at all.
Love and hugs,
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 January 2016
Photo credit: JERenich
Photos taken in the front yard of our first home in Savannah