Saturday, May 10, 2008

She...

In honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to share my all time favorite tribute album. Many of you may recognize it from Heidi Swapp's famously popular CKU class. I made this book at CKU-Stamford back in 2005. It remains to be one of my most treasured possessions. I did the book on my mom.
(ETA--Make a note to take a photo of your mother's hands this weekend. You will never regret photographing them--promise me!)
Let me give you a little background. I went to that CKU with a bunch of wonderful, fun gals. We toured NYC before heading out to the convention, and we all were having the time of our lives. I signed up for this class because I was a huge Heidi fan. But I also loved the concept of the book--and I knew right away it would be in honor of my mother. At that point, my mother had sustained many medical issues, and she wasn't well. I felt compelled to write down positive memories and I felt a sense of urgency about doing it. I knew I didn't want to do a memorial about her life one day, and reflect on her life after the fact. I wanted it to be a celebration of the life she had currently. So I was on a mission.
I gathered photos. I scanned and printed and felt that the task of simply gathering them was an accomplishment. I left my house with those ladies feeling a sense of pride in knowing that I had at least done that--so that was a step in the right direction.
The experience was really, really something. I have talked about this several times to various groups of people, and as I type this, I still get choked up. The whole event was like a woman's conference more so than a scrap retreat.

Heidi and her two assistants were wonderful. On this particular CKU, Heidi brought along her mother to help out as well. She introduced her on day one. We got right to work. I'm a simple scrapper--and this was WAY out of my comfort zone. The class was technique driven, for days on end. I learned a lot and played--and as you can see, we did accomplish a lot.
It was so enjoyable that as a class, we elected to stay in our tracks and not go to the CKU crops. We hung out in our classroom and kept working. Women shared with each other--and strangers quickly became friends. My friends Marti and Sandra were in the class with me, and I love having shared that experience with them. Heidi encouraged us to stand up and share some of the statements. Wow--it was something to witness.

Most women took the liberty to do the album on themselves. The concept of the album is based on a book by Kobe Yamada, and it was the making of a brilliant scrapbook. Fill a book with with positive affirmations--"She statements"--and support the statement with photographs. Simple enough, huh?
After two days of really pushing ourselves, Heidi started the third day completely different. When we arrived to the classroom, she had a power point presentation set up, and on the screen was a photo of her son in mid-air on a dirt bike doing a jump. When Heidi got up to talk, she began to speak about the meaning it had. She told us that she was out of her mind with fear over watching her then 7 year old son do a jump--and that what we couldn't see was her husband laying on the ground underneath--he was in fact jumping over his father. Then she read her she statement which paraphrased was something like, "She may not always agree with him, but she'll be there to take pictures."
Heidi went on and spoke more. She talked about her journey and how she worked hard and how her mother thought she must have been nuts. She questioned her choice to leave Making Memories and she found herself defending her position on starting her own business, working late hours, neglecting obligations and searching for balance. Every woman in that classroom identified.
Off in the corner of the room, Heidi's mom stood silently. Heidi began to talk about how important she was to her, and how her mother slowly started to see over time why she made the leap to do what she did--to start her own company and take a different path, as difficult as it may have seemed at the time.

Then she pointed to the picture of the bike and said, "Because to her, I'm the kid on the bike. And she has always been there to support me, even when she didn't agree or see what I was trying to accomplish--she was there every step of the way, to love and support me...and maybe even take a few pictures."

I swear to you, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
When I came home, I showed my mom the book. She read through it once--and only once--and gave it back to me. We didn't talk about it, but her reaction was enough. She simply said thank you, and I told her that someday my grandchildren would read it and know her by reading those words and looking at those photos.

I thank God I'm able to celebrate yet another year with my mom on Mother's Day. I'm also thankful for my own children and the blessings they have brought to our lives. I had a great teacher...
And tonight as I type this, after spending a lovely evening with a fun group of gals, I'm also incredibly grateful for this shared hobby. It has brought so much to my life, and when I reflect on the friendships that I have gained that I otherwise wouldn't have had--wow. Thank you for joining me, and thank you for sharing yourselves tonight.

To each and every one of you who are out there, doing what you do and doing what we do, I hope you have the most satisfying of days spent with the ones you love. Happy Mother's Day!

Love you, Mom!!!

9 comments:

dhillman said...

Wow! What a beautiful post and wonderful book. It is an amazing idea for a book.
That is the reason I scrapbook, to capture those precious memories and leave those memories, capture the feelings, for the next generation.
Thanks for sharing that

Barbara P. said...

Tomorrow I will celebrate my first mothers day. I only hope that one day my daughter will feel as much love for me as you do for your mom. I know I feel that way about my mom too!

pickmepam said...

i's sitting here in the middle of the library (on my shift at one of the computer stations) balling my eyes out after reading this! absolutely a beautiful album.

Julie said...

beautiful book, Trish and what treasures - the experience of making it and the book itself. I had the pleasure of a class with Heidi as well recently, and she made me cry, too. :)

Happy Mother's Day to you and to your mother as well!

Heather said...

Oh Trish...now I am sitting here with the misty eyes. What a lovely memory to have and a great story to share! THANK YOU!!! ....and Happy Mothers Day to you ;o)

Molly said...

Oh wow, Trish. That book is just amazing. I so wish I could have done one like that before my mom passed. I know she would have loved it. Seriously, so inspiring!
Happy Mother's Day to yoU!

Damaris said...

Thanks for sharing such a momories. Happy Mothers Day my friend. Sending you wishes full of health, happiness and love for you and your mom!!!
HUGS

emily said...

that story was beautiful.

emelyn said...

oh man, Trish! I'm totally crying right now...at WORK! What a beautiful tribute to your Mom. She has done an amazing job raising such a wonderful and creative daughter. I love all that you do, Trish!!