Art-Journal 5

This wonderful country has enlightened me to the artistic beauties which exist outside my own country. I have seen so many forms of art, from the She Wolf, to Roman graffiti, to the delicate pastries seen in bakeries. However, I recently had the chance to see a very different kind of art, the art of being a mother. Some might question this form of art; however I am fully confident in my idea. My vision of art is something not every person has, it is unique to the artist; it cannot be copied, or even taught, and true motherly instincts are not taught, they are simply known. The definition of a mother is not a woman who has given birth to a child, but rather any women who has taken on the responsibility of raising an individual, child or adult, blood relative or not.

This past Wednesday we had an amazing opportunity to step away from the attractions of the city, and business of campus life. We went to visit Mater Dei, an orphanage which takes in single mothers and their children. It is run by a group of nuns who have devoted their entire lives to helping the mothers, and raising their children. The mothers have all come from abusive relationships; as a result the children are often times rejected because of the horrific events their mothers have endured. Because of the personal histories of the women and children, the nuns have become adoptive mothers to both the children, and their mothers. They not only offer physical healing, but the spiritual and mental healing only mothers have the gift of providing as well. Mothers come into Mater Dei with and are mentally plagued with the memories of past relationships. The nuns then assume the motherly role of simply listening. It requires great deal of patience and understanding, a virtue not everyone possesses, but all true mothers have readily available. One of the sisters mentioned that often times the mother’s stories become taxing to the nuns own state of mind. Yet, they recognize that a huge part of the healing process involves listening; and for that reason the nuns will always have an open ear. This is one of the major beauties of being a mother, they perpetually give of themselves, despite any burden it may have on their own lives.

The same concept holds true for my own mother. I can remember when I was five I fell off my bike. I thought it was the end of the world, and with bloody hands and knees I ran to my mom crying. She calmly dropped whatever it was she was doing, and held me close to her. When I was in grade school, I remember holding my pet gerbil in my hands and watching it as it took its last breath. I was sure my world would end, and with my dead gerbil in one hand, and his makeshift casket in the other I ran to my mom sobbing, she stopped what she was doing, held me close, and took time to help me give him a proper burial. I can remember a year ago, being lost in a completely foreign country. I thought my life was certainly about to end, with my computer in one hand and tissue in another, I called my mom on Skype. She stopped what she was doing to answer, and comforted me from miles away.

I am not exactly sure what it is about mothers, but I feel as if their spirit itself is calming, it is innate; something a woman is born with, and in time discovers the incredibly powerful gift she has within her. Mothers are artists; there is no doubt in my mind, having the ability to stop all tears, heartaches, and even the end of the world.

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2 Responses to Art-Journal 5

  1. sarahsliman says:

    Wow Alyson, I loved this art journal. I really can see the art in being a mother, I know the love and hard work that is put into motherhood by simple observation of our own Mother and what she had to go through raising the six of us. It’s a full time job that is completely probono, not many people would be willing to give up their professional careers and put motherhood as their number one priority. However, when you see those amazing and strong woman that do give up everything and anything for their children (as our mother has) you see the artist in them. The care and the understanding, the ability to transform into any profession at the blink of an eye: doctor for boo boos, psychologist for when you get your first/second/third heartbreak, chef for the thousands of meals cooked from scratch, beautician to do our hair before our first dance…etc etc.

    I am glad you chose this as your art journal, it is very creative and true (in my opinion). Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Alyson, this was such a great journal, it made me cry! I loved how you discussed volunteering at Mater Dei, and how there were many examples of great mothers there. It is true that you don’t necessarily have to be blood related in order to be a mother. In fact, we can see this through adoptive parents as well. They are not blood related to their children, but they still care for that child, give them their everything, and love them to death. When we were at Mater Dei, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the mothers who were blood related to their children. I began to think how I would not appreciate someone telling me how to raise my children, telling my child what to do, and taking over many of the roles that are sacred and important factors in a mother to child bond. As the night continued, I began to see that the blood related mothers welcomed this help from the nuns, and that the children treated the nuns with respect and love, as if they were their birth mothers. This was a great example of how you don’t have to be blood related to be a motherly figure in a child’s life, or as you stated, an adult’s life as well. The emotionally and physically troubled women who come to Mater Dei need a mother figure to guide and comfort them. The Sisters do a fantastic and self sacrificing job at this.
    In my life time, I have had the opportunity to see two kinds of mothers: my mother and my sisters as mothers. My mother sacrificed a great deal to provide for us a better life than she had growing up. Although she wasn’t a stay at home mom, she was still always there for me, and even when she was at work, I knew that she was working to support her children and our dreams. She wanted to give us the world…and she did. She wanted to love us with everything she had…and she did. Now as I watch my sisters become mothers, it is a beautiful site to see. Growing up, they were like my “mini moms.” I would go to them for everything, and they taught me so many things about being a girl, and as I got older about being a woman. They are still my role models today, and I could go on and on about how much they mean to me and how much I need them in my life.
    Anyway, I may have gotten off the subject (sorry!) but I completely agree that being a mother is an art, an art that not all can accomplished. But when that art is accomplished, and accomplished well, it is a beautiful thing to experience.

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