family traits at nautilus teachings




“it’s hard for me too look at you Sheri Lynn
You remind me of Dory too much…”
These words, spoken to me after her death
Have stuck with me to this day
although It was a compliment
I felt burdened
My mother has been gone now
for years…
I hate that word.
My mother died.
she left life in 1987
I was 25
She was my best friend
I thought of her more like my sister than my mom at times
We shopped
Just Mom and I
We told each other everything
We both knew each others pain
My mom found her voice
She started saying what she wanted
Was not afraid to ask
And sometimes
She just did it!
Now my father was quiet
His lips-
The iron curtain
Of life
I don’t remember doing much with him
That was just he and I
My perception of him
Was that
He was unapproachable
Bordering on unloveable
I say this because
He never saved me
He never seemed proud of me
And to this day
Still makes me feel like a failure
I search for a warm memory
But really, my biggest memory of him
Was that he did things in threes
Like a stutter
(Which I had and still do to some extent)
Placing his coffee cup down took a
Tap, tap, tap
Set motion
His eyes spoke more that his words
I felt at times I could see pain
See joy or love in them
But for the most part they were empty
Hesitant brown dots
Afraid of what though?
“your mom loved you so much, she was so proud of you and talked about you all the time…”
My mother was proud of me
She told me over and over
That one day, I would be a great writer or artist
I made her cards with poems,
Paintings with prose
So when she told me her wish/dream for me
To marry well, join a country club and live
In a house with a white picket fence,
I felt it was the least I could do
After all she never got to live her dream-
Or did she?
This is a question I cannot answer truthfully
But my heart tells me,
She settled…
I married a man she loved
Who could give me all she wanted
My father,
Up until a five years ago would ask me almost every phone conversation we had,
“Sher, when are you going to get a real job?”
Glub, glub, glub
I guess I never made it out of the guppy stage for him
I followed his silent rules growing up
I did not speak back
I did not speak up
I did not speak
I obeyed
When my dream of going to the Art Institute was
At my finger tips with my acceptance letter
I could feel the cool blues
floating across my finger tips
And hear the brush strokes of my life
I was met with
“You cannot make a living with art, I will not pay for you to go to art school. You will go to the school of my choice and you will major in business.”
Dare I say
I had no air bubbles left at this time
That is an understatement
I was floating on my side like a dead fish in water.

Did my father love me?
I can’t say no-
because he told me daily
that he did,
I just don’t think
He new how
to show it…
Whenever we would take photographs
I was always on the end of the line next to my brothers
My dad would hug them in close and reach with his hand
And jiggle my cheek saying
“smile, Sher…”
I don’t even remember
Sitting on his lap
Until I was 28
At my second wedding reception
He was sitting and held out his arms
I sat down and he hugged me
And said, “I love you.”
I was so taken aback, that I cried
And he pulled me into a tight hug
At this time his soon to be wife
Came out and said
“ah why don’t you two get a room.”
Really? Did I just hear that correctly?
i knew she was joking
but it just stung me..
My mother
Was loving
She baked
Took care of us all
And until I was 13
Had no voice
My father
Never home
“you look like my mom, annie”
I said to my daughter 8 years ago
When she cut off her hair
Annie and I talk a lot about family resemblances
We just had this conversation again, last Saturday
“mom, you look like your mom, but you are stubborn just like Grandpa…”
At first I was shocked to hear her compare me to my father
But I paused
Thought a brief moment
And said,
“yes, I am and now you know where you get your stubbornness from.”
She smiled and said,
“yup, but I think I got these slanty eyes from Meme. Are you sure there’s no Asian on your side of the family?”
My youngest daughter Emily
Has always been told,
“ you look just like your mother.” 🙂
I think it’s funny and know it’s true
She is the spitting image of me
It has only been recently that she has begun to acknowledge this as I receive comments like,
“Mom is this another one of your traits I inherited?”
I giggle always
And say
“ya know Em, it’s not so bad being me…”
She just rolls her eyes-
That is something I am not sure I do, but….
Now my Nick
Is artistic ,sweet , kind and looks like his father
When he is with Emily, he looks like Em-hence me-
(they have different fathers)
Nick is quiet, reserved
Very much personality wise, like me
He’s not angry or closed like his father –
But he is built exactly like him
and now that he is a father
his son looks like him,
but he also has his mothers
beautiful big blue eyes…
We draw personality traits
From both parents
I drew genetically mostly my mother’s traits
My cousin and I look just alike
And we both look like our moms
Who obviously are sisters
Balancing the attributes of both parents
Once we are adults can be tough
I cannot hold my father responsible for my
Cornered silence or stubbornness
Or impute my giving nature
Came from my mother
I had many male and female mentors in life
What I hope I drew from my father is longevity of life
what I hope I drew from my mother
Is my soft features and smile
Everything else
That encompasses who Sheri is
Has been accumulating in this big paint bucket of my life
Drips of everyones color, love, anger, silence all mixed in
Leaving me
With a generous palette with which to pull from
As I try
To live