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  • Karen Izzi, PhD

Upon Finally Sitting Down

Updated: May 13, 2019

When I think about the special women in my life and how we have celebrated Mother’s Day, I am reminded of my Aunt Grace, my Grandmother, and of course, my Mom.  My great-aunt Grace was an artist. She made gorgeous paintings of flowers, teapots, candlesticks, and whatever else we would set up. She prompted me to create my own compositions. At age 7, I loved to paint things! In between paintings, we with messed around with tissue paper  and making collages. Aunt Grace taught me to “see.“ We would make up stories about the things that appeared in our creations. I fell in love with paper. Scissors were optional. She and Uncle Tommy didn’t have children but they kept their living room furniture covered in plastic. Heavy plastic. I hated the way my sweaty summer legs would stick. I would go on to create for years with her, without even knowing it would become one of my most cherished moments. I always felt loved.

When my Mom would return from her errands, Aunt Grace served us sweetened tea and a snack. She set out some homemade biscotti or sponge cake with fresh fruit. And always whipped cream. The three of us would sit, talk about artwork, dining with her finest china. It felt nice. Mom taught me to suck up the crumbs so they wouldn’t land on the floor. I never got bored there because Aunt Grace told us the stories of when she and Uncle Tommy would just hop in the car and drive to Arizona. She loved the Southwest. He was self-employed, so they would just pick a spot on the map, pack and go. She said they never made plans “we just drove until we were tired.” They enjoyed the ride in their many adventures going west. Mom and I saw what a good marriage was all about.

As Artists, we are seekers of adventure. We read, write, and listen to music. Artists love to be out and about and most of us enjoy nature and talking to people. Mom, Aunt Grace and I always had these things in common. My mother didn’t paint until she was an adult. Even though she always encouraged me, she never did it for herself. She was very close to aunt Grace, like her daughter, but never made painting time for herself. Aunt Grace was my Mom’s godmother, best friend, and I know, my Mom admired her so much. They shopped together, giggled, bought pretty things like china, crystal, make up, and jewelry. Perhaps my mother’s mentor of being the finest lady in the world. My Mom is a generous, feminine, creative, caring, sensitive, intuitive, and extremely loving woman, just like Aunt Grace.

Flash forward, I enjoy every moment of listening to my Mom’s stories about the time she spends with her granddaughters, my nieces. Mom embraces each one of triplets and their uniqueness. I laugh inside (a lot) because at least they love to get all dolled up with fancy dresses, make up, and nail polish. They love getting their hair done with my mom. They sip from darling tea cups and pretend to be princesses. By the way, my mom is so excited, because just last week she found a new tea set.

I struggle to get Mom to do creative projects with me. She is an amazing watercolor artist but maybe she feels guilty to sit down to do something fun for herself. No one has ever told her that she is awesome. I will work at it until she knows this truth. We come from a long line of “dedicated” women, by the way, are my most admired women. Truly motivated, first, by caring for their husband, children, food, and closely knit (always nearby) Italian relatives.

It’s safe to say that Mom has been blessed with the best bunch of girlfriends, “The East Whiteland Girls,” she calks them. Luckily, a few of them are quite liberal and seem to be a good influence on her. LOL I think this might get her to sit with me and have some fun! Here’s hoping. Her very best friend, Sue, and she grew up as young women, becoming moms, and neighbors. Their husbands hung out, they raised kids together, went on vacations, did cloth diapers, scouts, PTA, snow days, summer recreation, prepared meals together, and even married off their children together. When I married and left for Arizona in 1989, Sue’s waving arms were the last thing I saw from my rear view mirror as our moving truck pulled away. We all share so many moments.

I have wonderful memories of my Mom‘s best friend because she’s like a Mom to me. Sue has three sons so I was always “her daughter.” I am honored. These memories are all tucked away. All of us kids are very close friends, some having kids of their own. Blessed, we are, to grow up in the 70s and 80s and have mothers that stayed home to raise us. They sacrificed. We have learned what a perfect family can really be and most important, have amazing role models. Is my wish for everyone to have such a special friend.

Over the years, people respond to me, “Oh, well there’s no such thing as a perfect family.“ Well, I’m here to tell you there really is. It happens when two people who love each other, come together, choose love, and do their best to stay together. They walk away and come back. They teach their children to be decent human beings, to respect one another, and never go to bed upset. They tell me it’s about compromise. Each year, as Mother’s Day approaches, I search for the perfect way to recognize my perfect mom. There aren’t really gifts to “buy” that express that much love, honor, and gratitude, so I will leave it here, to float around the internet...

Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom

and the women who are just as special to me❤️



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