It’s funny how certain smells flood us with memories. For me, it’s furniture polish. Lemon Pledge. I grew up, the fifth of seven children of Dust Bowl Okies on the San Joaquin Valley in California. (Labels! How much, and how little, they say.) Our mother sang and danced and laughed, every day, and she worked the whole time. She transformed our wooden, shacky house into a home that was spotlessly clean, filled with music, laughter, flowers, and love. “It’s not where you live, honey,” she used to tell us, “it’s how you live!” So as I polish my furniture (sorry, Mom, once a week is all I can manage!), I am filled with emotions.
As I approach the age of my Mother when she died, I wonder – did I pass on my Mother’s lessons to my children? Cleanliness and order create serenity. Music nourishes an important part of our spirit. Along with hard work, it can help you conquer your fears and worries. Laughter keeps Old Man Trouble in perspective and gets us through tough times. We should create and seek beauty every day.
Did I teach them the grounding of our spirit from working with the Earth? It’s been a New Year’s resolution of mine for years —- grow my own flowers. It’s February, and as I watch my daffodils blooming, (Mom, thanks for all the bulbs), I think of her, and the day we planted them. My Mother spoke to the Earth, and it talked back to her in flowers.
I have more years behind me than in front of me now, but it seems so many things about Life are sharper and clearer than when I was young. My Mother’s Life Lessons have stood me in good stead. I know all the hurt and heartache and darkness that exists, but it is up to each of us to shed the light we can, to add to the Earth’s goodness and beauty.
I hope I was your conduit, Mom. There are times, I swear, I see your spirit in my daughters’ eyes.
Loretta Richardson Hicks