I’m a mom in the middle. I’m the between generation. My fingers touch both the hem of my mother’s skirt and the collar of my children’s shirt. This painting reminds me of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, and of motherhood.
At the temple wall, you’ll watch people writing little white prayers, rolling them up like cigarettes, and stuffing them into the chinks between the rocks. (for God to smoke, I suppose)
The blocks here are memory stones in a relationship wall, a Facebook timeline of our evolving experiences of “mother.” Inside these memories we are five, we are fifty, we are thirteen. Often in the course of one telephone conversation with her. Or in the way our patchworked hands reach for our kids.
A boundary-marking wall, a door-opening wall. Each block, a bit different in its materiality. Some are fading, some are strong and demanding. A bright turquoise shines from behind, a flexing light-giving life.
The mistakes she made with me pop up now on the backs of my hands, in the lines of my mouth. I sometimes find them in my bones. My reflection in the mirror dissolves into mystery, translucent overlays of my mother and her mother. Am I conflicted? Absolutely. I’m a card carrying member of the “deeply conflicted moms club.”
Go ahead and search the shelves of Target or Walmart for that perfect card. Find a Hallmark card that says, “I love you Mom, for all your cawing red blocks and the ones of whispering lavender. I love you for your brilliant turquoise soul. The one whose fingers now lift me.”
My kids will visit their checkered-past wall, and roll up their own prayers there. Prayers that they can someday be like me, prayers that they can be better.