guest post: Elizabeth Kenney :: My Mother Taught Me ::

photo credit: Elizabeth Kenney

:: I invite you to sit down with a cup of tea and soak in these heart warming words from

Elizabeth Kenney

who has participated in the Love Notes Post Card Project twice.  At first she wasn't to happy with the second writing prompt that I sent out, but boldly she worked through it.  I love how she seeked out the good and how she let the page catch her words. Through writing bring light to things we may have tucked away or never really wanted to look at to begin with.  Elizabeth dove in and was able to find beauty.  I love this! ::

I signed up for the Love Notes project on a whim and this is my second round participating.  Professionally, I'm a textile designer and love how it gets me out of my normal creative groove and connecting with strangers in a caring, giving way that also helps me find surprising places inside myself I didn't know where hiding there.  I look forward to each new prompt and love 'letting myself go' artistically speaking while making each note, imagining the smiles it will bring on the other end. 

I was excited to see what Jennifer's second prompt would be but completely froze with apprehension when I read it.  It was titled 'What My Mother Taught Me' and asked us to share wisdom we've gleaned from our mothers.  Her examples were all so lovely and positive and all I could think about was how my mother and I were at odds.  In fact, I was furious with her at the moment.  My mom has had a difficult life and always done her best to be a good mother.  That said, it's not always been easy being her daughter and I've spent much of my adult life trying to come to terms with our relationship.  We are different in myriad ways yet there are the nagging similarities that will always be there (even if I hate to admit it!)

I took a deep breath and thought how life has a way of bringing you exactly what you need in the moment.  As frustrated as I was, I look out the backyard window and thought, in every person, in each relationship, we can always find something good if we seek it.  I considered what my mother does well - her beautiful garden - and how much growing things in the earth means to me.  It's a love I share with my own daughter as we explore the backyard eating warm, sweet raspberries on summer days and she squeals with delight, her chubby fingers pulling worms from the soil. 

I pictured my mother's hands, slender, and my own, more sturdy, and considered how regardless whose hands work the ground, if its done with love, beautiful things will grow.  Each seedling may look different as it sprouts but like us, they come from a mother fruit.  It took a moment to write the poem and in creating the whimsical drawings to go with it, I travelled full circle with my feelings and realized I am a separate, beautiful person in the image of my mother yet very much rooted in my own life.  One of the best things I can hope is for my own daughter to grow and flourish and one day, perhaps, she'll look out her own back window and think of me, with love. 

Elizabeth and her family live and garden in Brooklyn, NY where she designs fabrics inspired by what grows there.  You can see her work at