Monday, October 8, 2007

Feeling Tender

I spent a good part of my weekend at the International Storytelling Festival. The tellers had me doubled over laughing and sobbing into my hankie. Some managed to do both in the span of a half hour.

I came home feeling both recharged and raw. I am ready to take on the world... after I have a good cry.

Today, I am remembering my stepmother, Linda, who we lost two years ago to pancreatic cancer. She was a force of a woman who was blunt and honest, but secretly tender. She gave love easily to animals, as none had ever hurt her, but was sometimes cautious sharing her soul with people. She had been let down and hurt too often as a child.

Linda would have never considered herself an artist, or even crafty, but she created constantly. One of her creations was a giant lighted Christmas ornament, made from plastic cups and Christmas lights. I thought they were redneck and tacky, a little goofy and the kind of thing your neighbors would snicker at. She would hang dozens along the front of their house and people would stop and buy them from her. She made about 50 each year and sold them for up to $50 each!

When she became ill, it was important to my dad that I learn to make them. Suddenly, instead of being a joke, the giant ornaments became a tribute to Linda. I made one after another and hung them from the front of my house. People's reactions vary from "What the heck?" to "Man those are cool!"

For me, they are a tribute to Linda. She helped to make me the wife and mother that I am. She loved my dad with all her heart and sought to protect his. She cared for the rights of animals long before it was cool. She called me her daughter. And I am.


Katie said...

What a wonderful tribute to your step mom. (nice lights!)

Cathy said...

What a wonderful post. I'm sure your step mum would be smiling as she watches you keep a family tradition alive