The Mona Lisa smile

Today is the anniversary of my mother’s passing.  A day of reflection and unease for me.  I adored my father.  As a child, as far as I was concerned, my mother was a distant other parent.  This preference lit a fuse whenever our paths crossed.  The wire sizzled but never extinguished itself even though my father died decades before her passing.  As I’ve grown older the memory of the dynamics between mother and daughter is a haunting presence in my life.  She was a perfect woman to all who met her.  To a child, she was an  impossible role model.

To my surprise today I found I had observed her closely.  I see her in a different light. DSCN8692.jpgIf you’ve taken the time to observe a blade of grass after rain, you’ll know what I mean.  You see details, magnified.  The ordinary, made beautiful.  You may even wonder, how did I miss that?  That’s where I am today.

My mother’s family history is rich as it is complex.  I’ve written about it in another post.  The ties that bound the ten siblings were elusive but impossible to sever.  They argued with passion.  They loved each other the same way.  How did we, the next generation, emerge from that family kiln unscathed, remains a mystery to me.  I haven’t seen some cousins for over 35 years.  Yet, we talk like we saw each other yesterday.

I’ve been home for a few days, making my house a home.  I got a corner here or there looking exactly like I want it to.  I’ve even dared to buy indoor plants.  Perhaps subconsciously I’m planning to be home more often.  I’m nesting briefly.

My mother’s home, my home, was so different.  Her touch was different to mine, yet, our yearning for creating a home is one.  I remember our lounge room once had heavy raw silk curtains in a rich cream with burnished orange cushions to contrast.  It was luxurious to the touch and eye.  I’ll never understand how she managed to keep our grubby fingers away from her prized lounge room.   As for me?  I’m especially happy with my ‘organic’ cabinet with my collection of emu eggs, shells, rocks and painted boab nuts.  They are symbolic of my journey and distance travelled.

I stepped away from the mirror I was wiping down.  How did I get here flashed through my mind.  As I did, I caught a glimpse of my mother, in my smile.

The familiarity startled me. The smile was not mine, nor my mother’s smile.

It was a Mona Lisa smile.

Maybe some things are meant to remain a mystery.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird