making for mom (part one)

my mom has amazing taste. every place you look in her home you see interesting eye candy. she has a lot of treasures, this lady. i remember a three foot leather camel next to the fireplace growing up (weird but cool). she has little installations all over the house. i love it.

my mom and her brood in 1973
here we are in 1973 (i’m the baby on the right). i want that dress (my mom’s, not the one i’m wearing)! and her hair is so good with that perfect part.

my mom is not sentimental. the objects that live in her home are lovely, but mostly she has little emotional connection to them beyond the visual. the problem here for me is that she doesn’t use or wear or display something i give her just because it’s from me, her beloved daughter. she had to genuinely like it. this flies in the face of the motherly norm. most moms hang the ugly school art and think it’s beautiful just because their kid made it. or wear the janky homespun earrings that her daughter made with a beading kit because she knows it will make her child feel warm and fuzzy inside. (i’ll admit i’m somewhere in the middle here. i only keep the good art, but i do hang the not-so-good art temporarily until i feel i can surreptitiously throw it away.) in my house, most items on display have a back story. for me, the beauty of an object lies partly in the memory of its origin.

so here’s my dilemma: i want to make my mom a felted wool wreath for spring similar to the independence day wreath i made last year, but with circles of several different colors arranged in random order. my girls and i will be visiting for easter, and i’d love to bring a big, bright springtime wreath with me. the risk is that my mom won’t hang the wreath, or that she’ll not appreciate it in proportion to my effort. there are expectations (and history).

back in the day, i went through a little program that had a bunch of silly but nevertheless true turns of phrase that stayed with me. a particularly helpful one was, “expectation is premeditated resentment.” sit with that for a minute to really let it sink in. deep, no?

so what do i do? i don’t want to start out my vacation with anxiety about whether and how much my mom will like my gift. i can only give it to her if i can let go. so this is my mission: make a wreath for my mom, and have the making be the part i focus on. because i do want to make it. what happens after that is not for me to decide.

curious how it turned out? check out making for mom (part two).


  1. Ligeia March 15

    This is the best post ever. So well written, a terrific topic everyone can relate to in some way, even if you didn’t have an artsy Mom who didn’t hang up your homemade crappy stuff, and thoughtful and … you said it, yes — deep!

    1. erin March 16

      ligeia, you are so sweet! i am forging ahead with the wreath this weekend. more on that later…

  2. […] and profoundly gifted. My friend Erin’s Mom was not that Mom. Erin’s post on her blog, Treasure Seeking, offers her hilarious, insightful, kind of painful and profound lesson on having a creative, […]

  3. […] and i traveled to visit the grandparents in carmel, ca for spring break (and brought with us the wreath). carmel is home to clint eastwood, whose former notoriety as town mayor has been overshadowed by […]

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