some things just stop me in my tracks. strolling through school days antiques mall i turned the corner and screeched to a halt. familiarity swirled around me as i stared at this painting – a paint-by-number. my breathing slowed. the scene, the hues…all made me feel like i was embraced. by my sweet momma. i texted a picture to my sister, to check in, to see what she said. she texted back that it, indeed, felt familiar and we tried to remember what happened to this painting of my mom’s. every time i look at this photo on my phone i feel ‘home’. even right now.
this wasn’t the first time this happened. back a couple years ago ON mother’s day we were tooling around an antiques store in woodstock, illinois. we had taken a ‘sunday drive’ (i am turning into my parents!) and looked for antiques stores to visit. as i turned the corner from one booth to the next it was there, staring at me. the paint-by-number-jesus that my mom had painted. i photographed it and called everyone that day. this painting was hung somewhere in our growing-up house that we can’t all agree on. but we know it was there. i turned the painting over looking for my mom’s signature on the back, but didn’t find it. i studied the frame, one that was identical to a frame that my sweet poppo had made on a paint-by-number-nude (yes, it’s ok to laugh aloud here) my mom had painted and hung in their bathroom (which i know i have written about before). i pondered how it might have gotten to woodstock, if indeed this painting and truly-identical-wooden-frame might have been my mom’s paint-by-number-jesus. it wasn’t likely. our growing-up-house was on long island and then my parents moved to florida so illinois was a bit off the mark (unless she had given the painting to my brother a million years ago and he “generously” donated it, which would make me laugh aloud.) we left and went home and a few days later drove all the way back, just to study it a little more, to touch it again. i thought holding it in my hands might tell me if i should buy it and bring it home and, well, i had no idea what to do with it then. i mean, what does one do with a paint-by-number-jesus? i didn’t buy it. i left paint-by-number-jesus in woodstock and i gratefully welcomed my mom’s embrace from afar.
so the other day, in the midst of the stresses of life, we took a stroll in one of our favorite antiques stores, chatting and reminiscing and laughing about all the stuff we used to have growing up and all the stuff that we still have in our cabinets that are now considered antiques.
we tried not to talk about the things that were nagging us, the things we are worried about, the things that seem insurmountable.
and my beloved sweet momma showed up.