A Gift for Mother’s Day
This guest post is a gift from Karen Burch. You can enjoy more of her writing at the Facebook page WayPoints by Karen Burch.
I made this piece of art for my 21-year-old daughter, Alanna, for Christmas. The beautiful photo was taken by a dear friend of mine, and I wrote the poem about art and artists — and about Alanna — to go along with it. My daughter is a very talented and amazing artist whose specialty is painting. She’s quite accomplished and well respected for her work, and I’m so very proud of her and her gifts and passions and how hard she’s working to become a successful artist. She has a dream and she’s working hard to make that dream a reality. I respect that, especially because I’m doing much of the same. In that artistic respect, she and I share much common ground. She and I don’t share much other common ground, with the exception of genetics, at the moment, to my great disappointment.
But I wanted to give her something special and meaningful and personal as a Christmas gift, and she was moving into her first apartment by herself in January, so I wanted to make her something beautiful that she could use to decorate her little home. So I took the photo, added the text of the poem onto the image, printed it out, bought a beautiful frame and framed it for her.
I gave it to her a couple days after Christmas and she opened it up. I had hoped that she would understand that I was giving her a little piece of my heat and soul, even though it was an inexpensive gift, and I knew that my gift to her certainly was not on her Christmas list this year.
She unwrapped the gift and opened it up. I told her that I’d made it for her and that I’d written the poem especially for her. She looked at it with an amused smile. I asked her if she liked it and she sort of chuckled, which was not at all the reaction I had expected or hoped for.
She just kind of stood there, speechless, and stared down at at the piece of art I’d made for her that she held in her hands. I wasn’t sure that she really even liked it. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. Maybe she really did like it and even love it, and just couldn’t show it. Maybe she just couldn’t admit that she really liked it.
I asked her why she was laughing. She told me that it was “kind of cheesy.” Then she added that it was like one of “those cheesy inspirational posters.”
“Well, I’m an inspirational writer, you know,” I replied, “and some of those inspirational posters are very beautiful.”
She said, “Well, it’s cheesy, but it’s high-end cheesy.”
Now, cheesy is not normally a complimentary word. And high-end cheesy is pretty much the equivalent of a high-class hooker. However, I didn’t get offended, and I didn’t ask any more questions of her. But I don’t think that she really loved the gift, as I would if anyone ever made me something like that. And in my lifetime, no one has ever made me such a gift. And I wish that I could say that someone had.
I think that first of all, she isn’t at all fond of my writing, which is really sad to me. It’s pretty sad that I can’t get my daughter’s approval and respect for the one thing I know that I do so beautifully, something that others (strangers, really) think highly of me for, and value and appreciate me for. I can’t paint or draw anything beautiful (or even decently), but I can create a beautiful “picture” with my writing. I consider myself an artist with writing, not paint. A piece of paper is my canvas. My fingers are my brushes. Letters and words are my paint. But come to think of it, I could never get my mother’s approval for my beautiful writing, either, when I was a young person. And perhaps this is why I would like to have my daughter’s approval of my writing gift.
I don’t think that she thinks much of inspirational writers, but that’s what I am. Maybe she thinks that inspirational writers and their writing are cheesy. I don’t think that. Maybe she thinks that inspirational writers don’t really put their heart and soul into what they write. I think that I do. Maybe she thinks that inspirational writers aren’t genuine and authentic and they don’t really believe what they write. But I am genuine and authentic and I believe 100% in every word I write, because my writing comes from my own beliefs and my experiences, both ugly and beautiful. My writing doesn’t just tell people, “Have faith, pray and be positive!” I aim to teach people how to become inspired, how to be inspired and inspire others, and I teach them how to have faith, how to change their thinking and use their changed thinking to change their lives for the better. I want to share the gifts I’ve been given. And I want my gifts to be used and enjoyed. I suspect that my gift to my daughter will never be displayed proudly on a wall or on a table in her home. Maybe it even embarasses her. I hope that I’m wrong.
Maybe she just thought the gift was overly sentimental and mushy. Maybe she needs to learn how wonderful it can be to feel overly sentimental and mushy, especially about the love of a daughter. Maybe she thought that the gift was corny or hokey. Maybe she needs to learn how good it feels to be corny and hokey about someone you love. Maybe she didn’t know that the gift was created with unconditional love. Maybe when she has a child of her own she will understand unconditional love. Maybe she was too proud or stubborn to admit that she liked the gift. Maybe she needs to learn that pride can deprive us of giving and accepting love and many other gifts. Maybe she just couldn’t bear to give me credit for creating something beautiful. I did create her, too, didn’t I? Maybe she needs to learn that giving credit where due is crucial in any relationship. Maybe she just can’t accept me for who I am. Maybe she needs to learn to accept people for who they are, just as she demands to be accepted for who she is. Maybe she just can’t appreciate that she has a “cheesy” mom who made her a cheesy gift for Christmas.
But that’s the kind of person I am, I suppose. I guess I’m just a sentimental, mushy, corny, hokey kind of person, and I’m good with that. And I guess if that makes me cheesy, then cheesy I am, and proud to be cheesy I am.
I wish you all an overly sentimental, mushy, corny, hokey and cheesy Mother’s Day and that each day is filled with all that cheesiness — high-end or not — and so much more. May your cheesy love be a brilliant work of art.