my mother

(painting courtesy my mother, Gail)

My mother raised me with the proverbial single hand while her other hand was busy making money for us to live on and trying to keep me pointed in the right direction.  She needed another hand.

She taught me to laugh at myself, plant vegetables, get my hands dirty, fight, use power tools, tell the truth, do the job right, drive a stick-shift, and not to be afraid.  She wasn’t raising no damsel-in-distress.

For the last 11 years, she has come over to our house once a week to be with her granddaughters. 

My mother is my good, real friend.  

Happy Mothers Day!

(She and I have started a blog together.  It’s called Optic Nervy ant it’s about all the outrageous and intriguing things we see in our day-to-day lives.  It is picture-heavy and light on words and who knows if we’ll be able to keep it up, but I think we’ll have some fun with it for awhile at least, so please come visit.)

About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.


  1. Christ. I love my mom. But she never let me in the kitchen, I have no idea how to build anything, fix anything and I can’t drive. I’m fundamentally incapable on a massive variety of levels. Sigh.

  2. gailytr

    what a blessing you are, so-much-more-than darling daughter

  3. maybe your mother knows my mother … she raised us too singlehandedly and earning money while teaching us how to do things when no man is around … I can put up shelves, paint, cook, bake and that nearly all at the same time

  4. Awesome painting! Happy Mother’s Day to you, too.

  5. You know how to use a power tool? Is there no end to you list of talents?

    I’ll be popping on over to your Collaboration Blog as soon as I’ve finished up cleaning the aftermath that is Mother’s Day – hope your was a good one too!

  6. Beautiful piece, chère Anna. I am so happy that you still have your mother, and are so close to each other. Cherish every moment you two get!!! My precious mother is with us in spirit every day, but it is difficult to not be able to pick up the phone and hear her voice anymore.

    Life…she is so ephemeral. And makes us so grateful for the smallest moments & things.

    Thank you for sharing your writing with us.

    Much love from Provence,

  7. My mom taught me how to fix a noisy toilet, paint a wall without messing up the carpet, cook a killer Thanksgiving dinner, and balance a checkbook, all by the time I was ten. Glad yours is still with you to see how great you turned out.

  8. What a wonderful nest painting. So fitting for this tribute post.

    Every year on Mothers Day I give my mother one Gardenia. I also give myself one. So for as long as the flowers last, the two of us share beauty and sensuality in a safe and healthy way.

    My mothers deep betrayals of herself and me taught me to trust my intuition, which makes our relationship very challenging today.

    That said, I feel her deep down respect and support. Maybe even some pride and admiration. She is my mother. The ship I came in on. For my life I will do what I can to honor hers. Like telling hard truths.

    • It is challenging when our mothers become real people and we become old enough to look at them eye-to-eye. (I love that nest. Mom, if you’re reading this, could you please paint some more nests?)

      • I was eye to eye with my mom when I was two. She would definitely agree with me on that. I think her and I have done more than one lifetime together trying to work out, whatever it is that we are trying to workout.

        We are both fierce women. Had to be. Neither of us would have survived otherwise.

        And yes, Mom of Anna. Paint more Nests!

  9. That’s so great, Anna. Here’s to mothers who teach real-life. I could budget for groceries by the time I was eleven years old. When I tell people this, they always look so sad — but it was great! I could clean the entire house and make a budget and mow the lawn and cook and do the laundry by the time I was a teenager. Guess what? It kept me too busy to get into trouble! And I’ve carried those lessons with me always.

    My son started doing his own laundry when he was eleven. He loved it. He loved to “help” and would even get mad at me if he caught me carrying in the groceries without asking for his help. He’d go to his friends’ houses and come home saying, “Kevin’s mom still makes his bed and washes his clothes!” It was hilarious.

    My daughter on the other hand …… 😉

    • It is such a good feeling to know you can take care of yourself. A huge gift.
      My daughter won’t even boil noodles. She could, but she won’t. The next generation of women?

  10. We need more women who know how to not raise damsels in distress. Kudos to your mom, and may society find more like her and less like the moms who put tiaras on their little girls.

  11. This reminds me of Sarah Kay’s ‘If I Should Have a Daughter’ ( – just from the other perspective!

  12. Ooo. I like that. And the irony is that no matter what you teach your daughter, she decides what to learn.

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