365 Days of Earrings

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Set Goals, and Carry On

April 10th is the 100th day of a non-leap year. This date became fixed in my memory two years ago when I taught a sweet and squirrelly boy named Cam, born on April 10th; I told him that I would always think of him on the 100th day of the year, and I will.

On April 10th, I started thinking about the next milestone in my year of earrings: one third of the year: the 122.33rd day. May 2nd was the 122nd day of 2011; May 3 was the 123rd. Although I'd been thinking about this milestone for almost a month, my number path and stink bugs distracted me. Today is the 124th day of 2011.

So today I chose celebratory earrings, enameled metal with etched silver. I love his pair, a gift from a student years ago. They are hanging from a knitting needle that my mother used to knit an afghan during the year she was hospitalized for TB treatment. I keep this pair of knitting needles next to my bed, as reminders of the determination and resilience I learned from my mom.

Before Nike, my mom lived the motto, Just Do It. Born in 1923, she grew up during the Depression and came of age during World War II. Keep Calm and Carry On was her mode of existence. When I was 4, she entered the hospital with the expectation that her surgery and treatment would last a year. She never talked to me about that year. I wonder if she marked milestones like 100 days, 122.33 days, 182.5 days...

My dad took this photo of me with my brother in the fall of 1960, soon after she left home, to take to her in the hospital. During the year she was gone, we moved into her dreamhouse, the one she had found after two years of persistent house-hunting. We had a series of housekeepers. I left preschool and started kindergarten. My mom arrived home on Halloween, 1961.

The four of us posed for this Christmas card photo soon after her return. How I loved getting home from school every day to find her at home. With half of one lung and a third of the other removed, doctors insisted she never exert herself. No one would have guessed. She just carried on, living the active life of the housewife and mother she had dreamed of being. Just do it.


Anonymous said...

What great pictures, Amy. I always meant to ask you to see more pictures of your mother. Thanks.

jwkrumich said...

Without ever meeting her, your mother is an inspiration to me.

J-ROK said...

First of all, you were one adorable little girl! I've realized that I don't know anything about your mother. Since you know everything about me, I must apologize for my self-centeredness! Prepare yourself for some story telling this summer :)

Käthe said...

I love hearing stories about her! Eloquent post, Mom. And thank you for sharing more pictures. Your resilience astounds me. I didn't know about the knitting needles next to your bed... :)

M. Kasch said...

I need to echo my sister. As I read this, I realized (with embarrassment) that I've never even asked about your mom. She sounds like she was amazing! Lucky you- to have an amazing mom and then to be one yourself. (aunt, too!)