Why on earth did it take me so long to start recording my conversations with Mom. They are so much more interesting in what I can remember. Here is an account from February 5, 2013. Mom was 94 and had been painting for 5 years.
I love Tuesdays. This is the day Mom paints.
We have a routine. I arrive at her door with the usual greeting. “Hi Mom, it’s your daughter Marilyn.” (Just so she doesn’t have to guess.) She tells me I look lovely – which is always nice to hear. I tell her that I thought I might beat her at Scrabble… Our big joke. She will look at me pityingly, “Well, I wouldn’t want to make you cry.” She laughs and sits, eager for the game (Did I mention she is competitive?) and we begin. She is surprisingly good for someone who has to ask me if dog is a word. But then her old strategies kick in and she spells “quiet” on the triple for 59 points. She’s quite wily actually, usually scoring in the mid to high 200’s. Then we take a walk. She looks out over the horizon delighting in everything she sees except for the Roosevelt Hotel. “Roosevelt,” she sniffs. “we didn’t like him.” She plays the piano – as always, Silent Night and Polly Waddle Doodle.
This is our warm-up for the afternoon ahead. We stroll to the painting area where the paintings from last week are displayed. Mother’s is immediately apparent; she has her own distinctive style.
I take a photo of the model on the table and she joins the others.
“What am I doing here?”
“You’re going to paint.”
Wrinkling her nose, “I don’t do this.”
“You’d be surprised. You’re really good. Everyone thinks so.”
At this point, it’s best if I leave the room. Without me to argue with, she waits patiently for paint to be put before her. As she lifts the brush, she begins to hum and she’s off – sometimes painting what she sees on the table, sometimes what is in her mind’s eye.
Can’t wait to see what she paints…
And here it is…Tulips.