My Mom Wears Safety Goggles


As much as I think of myself as a child of the 80’s, I’m actually a child of the 70’s, spending my elementary school years in the decade of polyester. Imagine how great I looked in the three piece polyester suits my mom made for me when I was in fourth grade, one in forest green and one in pink. I can also remember running my fingers over the smooth thread in the orange sunset my mom embroidered on the back of my denim shirt. She also cross-stitched a purple bedspread for me to match the frosted lavender sculptured carpet in my bedroom.

My mom has always been creative. She might not have defined herself that way during the years she was clothing us and making our house a home. Those were just the things a mom who had majored in home economics in college did. But she was also a science teacher and showed us how to put eggs in a basket and swing them over our heads to learn about centrifugal force.

My “Renaissance Woman” mother has never stopped discovering herself and trying new things. In her late 70’s, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. How did she respond? By taking up woodworking and spending hours in her “shop” in her basement wearing safety goggles and using the kinds of saws I find inherently scary. If you’re thinking she made some cute soap dishes or small knick knacks, think again. She made a headboard for her queen size bed and a gorgeous tabletop for her mother’s antique Singer sewing machine.


Through all the big projects, she also always has smaller things she’s working on while she and my dad watch Royals games or old movies. Her art has included acrylics, watercolors, and many other mediums, but my favorites are her mixed media pieces. Last week, we placed an order with a printer to turn a couple of my favorites of those into postcards and note cards, another new accomplishment for my 79-year-old inspiration who makes me want to keep trying new things.

I know I’m one of the lucky ones to have been blessed with the mom I call mine. I know not everyone has a Frances for their mom, and I am beyond grateful. I need her now as much as ever, but it’s watching her continue to change and grow as a person that not only inspires me, but makes me smile to myself with pride at each new idea she comes up with, each project she starts, each new dress she now makes for Sylvia, just like she made ones for me years ago. Her creative skills span my lifetime and sew together the seasons of my life and I follow the strands of the thread she trails behind her to keep moving forward as I age with her.

I challenge you today to find that person who inspires you and let them know it. Maybe it’s your mom, but maybe it’s a sister, friend or even someone you admire from afar who may not even know the impact they’ve had on your life. And then think about being that inspiration for others. Show them your strength, love, support and determination. Be a Frances, the world needs more Franceses.

P.S. To help you reach out to the person who is your inspiration, I’d like to send you one of the new postcards of my mom’s artwork found as the cover picture of this blog. Simply go to the Contact page on my website and send me an email with your address. I’ll mail you a card you can send to make someone’s day.