When Pigasso Met Mootisse – Mother’s Day

We are being besieged with print, television and corny radio ads recommending the best mothers day gifts to buy for 2013. My two are actually singing marketing jingles! Not to mention the flurry of media encouraging you that it’s not too late to send that special something to your mom. Equation: fed ex + you = happy mom. Top trending treasures this year, according to the Huffington Post, are a collection of perfumes, spa packages and home-made coupons. My children generally gift me the wonderful treat of breakfast in bed AND an explosion of their remnants in the kitchen. So when I attempt to wipe the dripping bacon grease from the knobs of my oven, I will look around and take in the vision of the real mothers day gifts my kids have made and we have preserved, framed and collected over time. Our very own exclusive art gallery. My youngest (5) recently took a session of classes on Henri Matisse. When our children were born into a competitive sporting world my main focus had always been balance. What better way to soften the edge of competition than the beauty of art.

Hadley channeling her inner Matisse

Hadley channeling her inner Matisse

These treasures litter my breakfast nook, bonus room and anywhere else I spend the majority of my day. Hadley’s teacher requested a family field trip this year. Temporarily housed in the Nasher Museum Of Art At Duke University was a collection of Matisse’s work and the modern masters, compiled together from the Cone Sisters. Prior to attending the exhibit we added to our library list for the week, children’s books on Matisse. Knowledge is power. They had a couple of great ones.

When Pigasso Met Mootisse

A Bird or Two: A Story About Henri Matisse

On the back of one book was a quote, that even if I had read it a hundred times, I only seemed to absorb it just this one reading. It said:

What I had to do, I did – the best I could – Henri Matisse 1869-1954

Libby Interpreting Picasso

Libby Interpreting Picasso – 2013

Libby's Matisse Inspiration 2008

Libby’s Matisse Inspiration 2008

Dear Girls,

Thank you for the gifts, your inner beauty and the heavenliness you create. It is something I treasure and in the end…..what I had to do, I did, the best I could is my offering back to you. I value you more than a Matisse masterpiece.



Support Groups And Swings

My oldest daughter despises swings.  Her face turns a ghostly shade of white at mere push.  It’s always been that way.  I remember our first outing to a neighborhood park in Boston.  She was approximately 6 months old.  I was so happy and proud, bow in hair and camera ready to capture the fun and a wide toothless smile.  I placed her in the black baby swing.  I began the count down 3….2…1.. pushed ……camera posed to shoot and….. instead of delight, I witnessed sheer panic, followed by tears and screams.  This couldn’t be! I quickly scooped her up, held her, and tried again.  What child doesn’t like a swing? Maybe my build up was too much.  As if in lather and repeat, I tried and kept trying.  Smaller pushes each time and still the same reaction.  The walk home was like a walk of shame.  We had a classic case of park failure.  I called Don disappointedly and relayed the news.  As par for course, his practical reaction – “well guess there isn’t a need to purchase playground equipment for the back yard.”

Over the years we, meaning I, periodically kept trying  and at some point in her life she decided she would throw me a bone and stay on for a second, then declare that it was “high enough” and be done.  Now when she goes with friends and they run for the swings, she pretends.  I watch her hop on and barely ever do her feet leave the ground.

EXCEPT for one special time of year, with one special friend.  All bets are off on this day!  In the fall, at our local church they hold a fair fundraiser and they have flying swings.  Our first trip there was with a dear school friend and her family.  Immediately, I crossed it off the list as something we did not need tickets for but my mouth dropped in surprise when Libby said she and Ashley wanted to do “it”.  “The swings?” I asked.  “Yes mom, the swings.”   I then proceeded to lecture that they wont stop the ride in the middle just for her.  The response, “no mom, I’ve got it.”  Rolling with the punches, I watched her get on by herself and then the count down began 3….2…1…..liftoff ensued…….camera ready and this is what I captured.


Sheer delight, but even better than that, simple friendship. I am not sure who extended the hand first but the important part was that both hands found each other.  We continue to go back every fall, together, and I think it’s the only time that Libby will open herself up for a special ride.

That’s how I view support groups and not just Parkinson’s specific support groups.  I’ve been asked several times; do we belong to any or if I have recommendations for such.  My answer is, it is hard to find just the right one.  Continue trying because someday your feet will leave the ground.  Someday, you will know when you have found a safe place to share.  It will be when you reach out to hold someones hand for support and they will be there to not only receive it but, not let go until the ride is over.