Mom and Me, October 1974, age 36 and 3
This photo is blurry, like a forty-year old memory, but each time I look at it I recall the days sitting at the kitchen table with my mom, eating lunch and talking. Mom is no powerful politician, no famous artist, no spiritual leader to the world. But she taught me that kindness is more important that winning an argument, that creative pursuits might not make me rich but they strengthen my soul, that God loves me and I should try to love others as much as God loves me. My mom is the most important influence on my life, and I can't thank her enough for all she's given me. All my goodness comes from Mom.
Mom and her wildflowers, our front porch, circa 1985, age 46.
As a teen, I loved sitting on the front porch, talking with Mom. Whenever we talked about my future, she'd say things like, "when you publish your stories". Never "if you publish your stories". Granted, Mom would prefer I write something light and easy, a witty romance novel, a spunky amateur-detective mystery. She worries about me wallowing in my depressive ruminations. She doesn't understand why I don't write fun!
"You're so funny! You should write fun stories!" she says.
Still, she's supportive of my endeavors, however serious and gloomy they may be.
"I don't understand what the word ambiguous means but I'm happy your blog is doing so well!" she says.
In all my creative pursuits, Mom has always been my number one fan. A talented artist herself, when I was young she stuck pencils and crayons in my hand and plied me with paper. I wanted to be just like Mommy--an artist--so I watched her sketch and modeled her methods. Here's a drawing Mom did of me from a photo taken when I was about two, around the time I myself began drawing stories:
"Becky" by Beverly Martinmaas, aka Mom
Here are some other examples of Mom's creations:
Mom drew this Chief shortly after she left my dad after twenty years of marriage. I think it's one of her best.
A portrait of my sister Kit, Mom's oldest daughter
My sister Jenny is the proud owner of this drawing.
I am the proud owner of this painting.
"Patchwork Skirt Bedspread" by Beverly Martinmaas, aka Mom
The story behind the bedspread above is that when I was a pippy--a punk/hippie as my friends called me--in high school, Mom sewed patchwork dresses and bell bottom pants for me. Over time my clothes began to fall apart, so mom used the fabric to make me this bedspread. It is so freaking soft.
"Katie's bedspread" by Bev Martinmaas, aka Grandma Bev
Mom loves to draw with kids. Here's a drawing she and Katie did together when Katie was just four:
"Two Kids Playing on a Tire Swing" by Katie Carleton and Grandma Bev 4-10-11
This is my favorite picture of Mom doing what she loves best: creating.
I have fond memories of Mom and me drawing together when I was a kid.
Mom and my sister Kit both saved many of my early drawings. Here are some of my favorites:
"Becky's Clowns" 10-16-73, age nearly 3
These others are nameless and dateless. Circa 1974-1977, ages 3-6:
The next one is dateless too, but my sister, Kit, remembers it's called "People Stew." The happy wolves are gathering around a pot of people stew, awaiting their feast.
Mom encouraged me to see things from a different perspective, to look closely at life and examine it from all angles.
I gave up drawing when I got old enough to write my stories. Now, while I pound out stories onto my keyboard and share my creations with the world, my other creation, my flesh and blood creation, sits at our kitchen table and creates her own stories to share.
"A Bathtub" by Katie 10-20-09, age 3
"A Bird in a Tree" by Katie Carleton 10-24-10, age 4
"Mommy with Fingers and Toes" by Katie Carleton 1-16-11, age 4
"Katie at Different Ages" by Katie Carleton 3-21-11 (I wrote March 2010 in error), age 4
Katie explained this about the picture above. The first person, on the left with the big head is Katie, as she said, "Me when I am four, now." The person directly to the right of the first person is, as Katie said, "Me when I was three." At the bottom is a representation of fetal Katie, as she said, "Me inside your tummy." At the far right is another representation of fetal Katie, as she explained, "Me when I inside you where the food goes down to me and I get it and grow." I'm fascinated by her in utero self-expression.
"Katie and a Smoothie" by Katie Carleton 5-11-12, age 5
Katie gave me the drawing above last year for Mother's Day. She explained that since she and Daddy planned on fixing my blender for my Mother's Day present it would mean she'd get to enjoy a delicious smoothie.
"Thank You, Mom!" by Katie Carleton 10-11-12, age 6
Katie made me the card above when I came to her first grade class and read a book to them and then stayed for lunch. I love how our faces are melded into each other's as we embrace.
"Mommy, Katie, and Daddy with a Grateful Dead T-shirt" 1-28-13, age 6
Here's what Katie made me for Mother's Day 2013:
"Sunflowers" by Katie Carleton 5-6-13, age 6
"Love Flower" by Katie Carleton 5-10-13, age 6
And here's what Katie made for her Grandma Bev. She did it in pastels and then painted water over it, "to make it realistic since Grandma Bev is a great artist."
Happy Mother's Day, Mom! You showed me how to be an artist. You showed me how to be a mother. You inspired me to create. And now my creation is inspired to create too.