Wednesday, May 4

Mother's Day thoughts and reflecting on the job....

a Mother's Day tribute to my mother,
Judith Helene Matthews
Judy as a kindergarten student in the 1950s

pink hydrangea,
overlooking the ocean
in her garden
Gloucester, Massachusetts

her lovely little cottage overlooking the ocean from two sides and a former seacaptain's home -- so perfect for my mom's sensibilities

my mother's love for animals infused my children's personalities with a passion for nature and animals
 I took this picture of mom in Central Park 1975 --
just one of our many fun road trips together

My friend JB over at the Building Moxie got me motivated to write this story because he wrote a touching tribute to his wife about Mother's Day and asked all of us members of The Dream Team (a fun group of bloggers and designers that were sponsored by Brizo during Fashion Week) to all follow suit.  I will admit it is hard to write, but cathartic -- thanks Jb for encouraging me to remember mom on Mother's Day and to pay tribute to all the mothers in the world -- big job huh?! By the way, The Dream Team are onto another adventure in June as GEMonogram has now offered to sponsor us for an all expense paid trip to their designer headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky for another collaboration!  How cool is that!

A tribute to my mom:
Judy was a philanthropist, an artist, a gardener, an animal lover and most of all a caring person. Unfortunately, my mother passed away suddenly from an asthma attack in October 2006, ironically after she had been working in her garden. Judy was a vibrant, amazingly accomplished woman who tapped into her artistic side later in her life (after we all left the nest) through her gardening. As a single mother, who juggled many tasks at once throughout my childhood, including raising three children while simultaneously receiving her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and Social Work, Judy had become accustomed to utilizing her abundant energy to get much done in a short day’s work. She dedicated her life to helping women and children in poverty, and although that career choice was not always monetarily profitable, she retained great joy from helping women ascend out of poverty through grassroots programs, the subject she wrote about for her graduate school thesis. She was a woman’s rights activist my whole life, and in her younger years she did not seem to have much time for NESTING, although she always had an affinity for antiques, decorating and entertaining.

As she aged, she slowed down a bit, and found gardening, and through digging in the earth, she learned to “smell the roses”. Speaking of roses, her rose trellis became something of a legend in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Judy's Hollyhocks grew over five feet tall, her raspberry bushes were plentiful, and her Koi pond became a beautiful, Japanese inspired project. I remember her hoisting and laying her flagstone driveway herself, while carefully planting thyme in between the stones so the peppery smell would surround her guests as they exited their cars. With her "green thumb" my mother turned her property into a beautiful oasis. She had bought and refinished an old house that had originally been a sea captain’s home, just feet away from the ocean in the pretty enclave of Gloucester, called Rocky Neck. The visual picture of seeing Judy’s garden, against the backdrop of the glistening ocean and fishing boats meandering out for a day’s work, was stunning, and, subsequently, brought many onlookers.

Even though I had little interest in gardening at the time, and only had a small terrace in Manhattan, my mother would often send me packets of seeds, clippings of gardening advice, and encouragements about her new found passion. Years later, she taught my children the joy of a vegetable patch. Each spring she would haul her tools into my backyard and, together they created the magic.

my mom encouraged me to follow my dreams and set me on a creative path.  She is the reason I do much of what I do today, and certainly the main reason I started journaling my experiences as a designer.  She spent her entire life writing and now I realize the value, as I reflect upon her written words daily.

I miss her very much,
and the world misses her beautiful gardens!

Happy Mothers Day everyone
being a mother is one of the most important jobs
on earth!


My Dog-Eared Pages said...

I am quite misty-eyed and loved reading this post about your mother SO much T! It's just lovely and inspires me to write about my mother {I hope I can} who died when I was 8 years-old. I am happy to live close to the spirit of your beautiful mom here in Massachusetts. Happy Mother's Day to you! A beautifully written, touching tribute. oxo Barbara

Gabby said...

Great post, Mom. I miss Grandma Judy very much; this story brought back a lot of memories. Happy Mother's Day! <3 <3

WA Blog Team said...

Dear Tamara,
This is such a beautiful and loving tribute to your mother, Judy. We wish you a Happy Mother's Day weekend! ; )

Lori Gilder said...

Tamara!! What a beautiful tribute to your wonderful mom!

This is a wonderful post and I wish you a very Happy Mother's Day. Enjoy your family.

Art Style said...

You keep her alive, Tam. There's not a time when I'm in Gloucester that I don't recall a story about her!

carriesdesignmusings said...

Beautiful tribute. Your mother would be proud. Happy Mother's Day.

AlexandraFunFit said...

This is a moving and evocative tribute to your mom, who looks so incredibly young in all the pictures. I'm glad JB convinced you to write this. The bit about her sending you seed packets reminds me of my own mom's habit of sending a lot of stuff that doesn't really fit in my house. Eventually I realized that what's really being sent is love and connection. I'm sure I'll send my kids loads of stuff when they move out and on. Thanks for the story.