Sunday, May 10, 2020

My mom is my inspiration
When I was a little girl, my mom was a high school math teacher. I had a nanny, teta Gita, who would come every morning, pick me up and I would spend the day at her house. I remember in the evenings the sound of my mom's car, driving over the gravel road and approaching my nanny's house. It was the most exhilarating feeling. I loved my nanny to pieces, and I never missed my mom during the day. I played on the street in front of my nanny's house with neighbors' kids. But when my mom would come to pick me up I was simply overjoyed.
In the evenings at home, my mom would play the piano, lots of Chopin, and I would dance behind her. I loved dancing but back then I thought "her music" was too melancholy and sad. But since I grew up on Chopin - his music became a part of me. I have the gift now of always having my mom with me when I hear Chopin. That is, if it is played well ;-) If there's too much technique and not enough soul involved, I simply can't bear it. My mom is one of those overly sensitive people who feel everything, and she is guilty of all my sensitivities, irritabilities, and just like her, of feeling too much in general. But I would never trade it for any other version of living. 

I still talk with my mom every single day, continents apart, and especially now, during the COVID-19 when she is in a full quarantine in a retirement home in Croatia, I cherish every minute of our conversations. I take a walk and talk with my mom. We talk about colors, how yellow and red together make the worst match, I tell her about my new series of paintings, we discuss different textures of watercolor paper, the ones that are smooth, the ones that are rough, more cream-colored or the crisp white... I describe the flowers that are in bloom here now and that I see around me while I am walking, and the birds that are chirping. When I notice someone walking a few steps behind me, even though there is almost not a living soul on the streets, she can feel my irritability and starts "hearing" the footsteps of the "oblivious intruder that is not sensitive enough to cross the street or make a turn, for goodness sake"! Then we laugh together at our ridiculous sensitivity. 
There's an anecdotal story from my mom's childhood: One time, just before the storm, my mom was in the yard with her mother and her mother's friend who came over. A hen and her little chicks got excited and chirped after a loud thunder. The chicks seemed frightened and my mom started to cry, feeling for the poor chicks. Her mother's friend who saw my mom crying over the chicks who were unharmed exclaimed: "That child is not fit for life!". I know that comment might sound very harsh nowadays, but this was just after WW2 and it was no time to be sensitive. Yet she was and still is.
I am so grateful for my mom ALWAYS being sensitive, and funny, and so very happy, and so very sad, for feeling everything, and feeling too much, and for being so so kind, and most of all - for being the best mom in the whole world to me and my sister!
Happy Mother's Day, mama!


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