Perkins05

Do you recognize her? Well, Jane Perkins recreated the iconic photo of the Afghan Girl using tossed aside junk. I spy a lego, monkey and army man. Jane calls herself a re-maker who “take(s) inspiration from found objects and working them into something new.”

 

The depth and detail strike me. It’s just like the photo, but not quite, but actually an even more true version of the real thing. It’s striking. You can see the original image in her work so clearly. But, from my vantage point, this is even more interesting. The detail, the texture, the depth – it’s captivating. And to think, this was made from the remains, the waste, the junk.

 

And I’m all choked up about it today. As I write this, I cannot help but sob aloud. I’m proud. I’m thankful. I’m desperate to hug my mom. Because, together, we made something absolutely beautiful from some pretty messed up waste.

 

Our history was junk. It was the remains of divorce, struggle, dispute, custody battles, and messes beyond repair. Attempts at forgiveness and reparations led to disappointment and hopelessness. I am not going to lie – I always wished my family had stayed together. Instead, The Claudons peaked when I was 3 years old (at least it appears so from home videos) and had completely fallen apart by the time I turned 6. It was awful. It messed all five of us up. We all struggled. We all acted out. We all dealt with it our own way. And as the custody battles waged and us three kids grew up, some relationships survived better than others.

 

My relationship with my mom suffered, big time. I don’t want to go into it, not here or anywhere else. But, about half of my life was spent without my mom. It crushes me, still, to think about all the time we lost. Both of us. And all because of the junk.

 

My mom tried many times to repair things. And, I regret the way I responded (or didn’t) for so long. You see, the junk was the shit that weighed me down, made me depressed around Mother’s Day and I couldn’t see beyond it. Restoration was too grand an idea for me. So, my mom kept trying and I continued to cling onto the shit past. And so, year after year (Mother’s Day after Mother’s Day) we lived life separate from each other.

 

Until I got pregnant with my first child. It was a marker for me. I was entering into a new and absolutely exciting stage of my life. I cannot completely understand what shifted for me, but I realized that I was done living my life without my mom. Regardless of my shitty childhood and adolescence, I was ready to start something fresh. I wanted something different for myself, my kids and my mom. I’m telling you, it takes two to tango. As much as my mom tried, for years, to make things new, it just couldn’t happen without me.

 

I needed to be willing to take the junk and make it new. And, at 29 years old, I was finally ready. So, we hit the “restart”button about 3.5 years ago. We laid it all out, you know, the junk. There wasn’t a piece of history that we didn’t talk about. It was all there. And piece by piece, we cleaned it up, and turned it into something new.

 

Oh the tears. The crazy, sobbing, cry-like-a-newborn-baby tears. We both get it – we messed up, we missed out, and we’re DONE with that shit. And we’re ready to make beautiful things.

 

I cannot imagine being a mom without her by my side. My mom is strong, beautiful and loving. And because of her, I am a stronger, more beautiful and more loving.

 

Mom, I love you. I love our beautiful friendship. The detail, the texture, the depth – it’s captivating. And I am so proud of it, of us. Happy Mother’s Day.

 

Dear Friend, life isn’t fair. It isn’t easy. Often, it crushes us and leaves us with crappy junk. And we’re tempted to toss it aside (which really means holding onto that shit so tightly that it festers and takes you over). Instead, seek to make something new. First, look at your messy junk. Be honest about it. Hide nothing. Find hope for what could be… and then make beautiful things. Make beautiful things out of all of it.

 

Peace, Love and Happy Mother’s Day.

Natalie