Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Mother's Gift

Mother's Day has never been a big event at our house. But as it came and went two weeks ago, I remembered that last year I gave my mother a little Mother's Day book. At the time, I suspected it would be one of my last Mother's Day gifts to her. I was right.

My mother has been gone for seven months and it has taken me this long to be able to share with all of you what I said at her graveside. This is in Margaret Federlin's honor-- as well as for all of you who nurture children and grandchildren.  Your gifts of time, inspiration, and encouragement are priceless.

Lori, Lydia, and Lisa Baldwin
with their Grandma Federlin
circa 2012

"Two weeks ago my mother and I started looking through old photo albums. We looked at more recent ones of my children, and also ones of her and my father in their earlier years. I found an half-empty album that had an envelope stashed in the back full  of pictures that my father had taken of her paintings. We decided to fill up the rest of the pages with these pictures. As we did, it struck me how much she painted (even until the week before she died she was still talking about the paintings that she was thinking about and planning), how many pictures she had given away, and how much people enjoyed her artwork.
Margaret's wall of bird pictures
circa 2010


"I asked her if she was disappointed that none of her children had inherited her artistic talents. She said no, she was confident that each of us was following our own interests and passions.

"I have thought often that one of my mother’s gifts to me was her saying to me when I was about 10 or 12, 'You have a way with words.' Her belief in me has continued unabated into my adult years even as I told her about my struggles writing my first novel. In some ways, she has been my biggest fan. I will miss her being in my corner, rooting for me and encouraging me to persevere. But I have her words, her voice, and her belief that I can do 'whatever I set my mind to' inside of me now, and I will never lose that.

"I was privileged to have had both my parents live nearby for the last years of their lives.  I think it was Charlotte’s warmer climate—compared to upstate, NY or Milwaukee that drew them here—but my life has been richer as a result. But for Tom and Barbara, I want to tell you that I can’t tell you how many times she said to me, 'I am blessed to have three wonderful kids.'
With my sister, Barbara and brother, Tom
June, 2014

"About a month ago she said, 'I have more than I anticipated. I didn’t think I’d live to be so old, have so many friends, be so happy and be satisfied.' She said she wanted to be remembered as a 'someone who loved her family, her children, and her life.'

Margaret with Lindsey Kasten and Leslie Clark
along with her first two great-grandchildren:
Caitlin and Ebby
Circa 2010

"Every inch of wall space in her room at the Stewart Health Center was covered with her paintings. 

 Family members and friends will treasure them for years to come. 
Raggedy Ann
Given to Lisa Baldwin, 1988
Given to Caitlin Kasten
2013


Lisa Baldwin
Circa 1990

Painted Circa 1990

Hung in Tom Federlin's room growing up
Given to him, 2013
"Her artwork is most certainly part of her legacy to us. But as her children, we also can treasure her other gift to us: a simple belief that we were important, special, and very much a part of the reason she was thankful to 'get out of bed' each day."


17 comments:

JoyceHostetter said...

wow! That is a terrific tribute. I am glad to be reminded of those words you shared that day. I am honored to have one of her paintings. Love that Raggedy Ann.

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

Wow, Carol, what a tribute to a wonderful lady. I am blessed to have known her and shared numerous wonderful times with her and you. May your memories of her rest in your heart like precious jewels.

Lisa Fowler said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dear mother, Carol. Thank you for sharing her words and beautiful artwork.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Joyce, Linda, and Lisa. Yes, that Raggedy Ann was one of my favorites too. Precious jewels--such a good analogy, Linda!

Kathy B said...

Carol, thank you for sharing what is in your heart for your Mother. She definitely was a very talented artist. I am sure she is still rooting for you. What wonderful memories
for you and your family!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kathy. That is so sweet of you! Working on this blog made me miss her more….I'm sure you understand!

Gail Hurlburt said...

Carol, these are treasured memories that will always be precious to you. Not only the memories, but the treasure of the paintings your mother did over the years. Thank you for sharing. Your mother's gift to you of encouragement with your writing and words is special.

Gail Hurlburt

Gail Hurlburt said...

Carol, these are treasured memories that will always be precious to you. Not only the memories, but the treasure of the paintings your mother did over the years. Thank you for sharing. Your mother's gift to you of encouragement with your writing and words is special.

Gail Hurlburt

Linda A. said...

Carol,
What a wonderful way to pay tribute to your mom. What a wonderful lady! So glad you have so many precious memories. Sad for your loss too.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Linda and Gail. We know how important our mothers were to us, right?!

sheri levy said...

Carol, thanks for sharing. Your words about you mother touched my heart and made me realize I need to cherish each moment I still have with my ninety-year-old mom. How nice you have her beautiful art work and her loving words to cherish.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Sheri. YEs. Treasure every moment!

Nancy said...

Thank you for sharing some of your mother's beautiful gifts with us!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Nancy, for stopping by and enjoying my mother's gifts to her family!

miriam said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful and moving tribute to your mom. She sounds like she was an amazing woman.
I'm sure her words will continue to inspire you in your writing path. She has left so many wonderful gifts behind!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Miriam. Our parents are treasures!!

Anna E. G. said...

Thank you for sharing this with us Carol. Your mother sounds like a wonderful person, who created some beautiful art. Continue to follow your goal to publish your book, like your mother wanted you to! All the best luck to you. :)