They Carried Me
My dear friend, Lynn Rose Curtin, wrote a lovely song honoring mothers called "You Carry Me" as part of a mixed-media art project. The song stayed with me in a way that felt deep and profound, but I couldn't quite figure out what was going on. I asked Lynn to send me some photos of her and her mother so I could create a video to go with the song.
Scanning photos for a video project always is an act of love for me. I see the emotions that the people in the photos were feeling on the day they were photographed. I see their aspirational dreams, their fears, their hopes, their pride -- it's all there. While I cannot know the details, I see so much in their eyes and in their bearing.
As I went about the task of scanning Lynn's photos in and placing them where I wanted in the music, I was struck by the love I could see in the way her mother dressed her, combed her hair, and cared for her. I could see her mother's tenderness as she held Lynn. I could see the pride her mother felt in being a mother.
This made me think of my own mother. She was a bright, talented person who worked her way through college when the doors were still mostly slammed shut for women. She could tell a joke like a pro, and she loved to sing. She was proud of all three of her daughters. She would break into a tap dance sometimes just to make us laugh, and she was my first true love. I thought she could do anything, but, she couldn't. She could not overcome poverty, or the misogyny of her time, or her serious mental illness. Those things stole her life, and much of my childhood.
But, I was not abandoned. Never. Nor was she. My grandmother was there from my birth, doing the hard work of mothering when my mother couldn't. And, when my grandmother's health failed, my mother's sister stepped in.
As she was nearing the end of her life in a nursing home, my mother said to me, with a strong note of pride, "My children never went hungry." Maybe that's a small accomplishment to some, but to those of us who get a rough start, it's everything.
My grandmother, my aunt, and my mother all gave me what they could back then. They carried me until I could fend for myself, and I feel their love, their wisdom, and their spiritual guidance, more and more the older I become. Time has blessed me with compassion and understanding for what it took to get me here.
Here's Lynn's beautiful song and our video. For all the mothers who carry us into our soul's journey.