Once you’ve lost a parent, or anyone close, there are times when little things crop up that you wish you could share. Some adult children, accustomed to daily check-ins with Mom or Dad catch themselves going for the phone and then realizing there’s no one left to call on the other end. Or you’ll read a book or see something fabulous that your loved one would have enjoyed. And all you can do is imagine their pleasure. All you can say is, “Oh, Mom would have loved this!”
I had such a moment today. Our daughter Emma has just had her first wallpaper collection mentioned in Vogue’s online magazine.* It’s been quite a big day. I was running around all morning when her text came through that the piece had gone live. I rushed home and before clicking the link, I called Emma to share the moment with her as I first laid eyes on my daughter’s triumph. Savoring the moment, I told her what a charge her Grandma Dolly would have gotten out of this. Vogue! Vogue was my mother’s bible. There were copies of this slick and beautiful magazine with its stark models dressed in sumptuous clothes stacked on the coffee table in our living room and on my mother’s nightstand. Every once in a while I’d come across tear sheets featuring Balenciaga gowns and Chanel bags slipped into books and random kitchen drawers.
And now Emma’s art has found its way into Vogue. My mother would have crowed with glee, pride and a bit of puffed up ownership that her granddaughter had managed such a coup. “I can just see my mother,” I fantasized to Emma. “clearing her throat and demanding the attention of all those present. ‘You, over there! Put down that harp! I’ve got an announcement to make – my granddaughter’s wallpaper designs are in Vogue! And you! Straighten your halo! Brush that feather from your eyes. This is a red letter day. Have you ever seen such beautiful colors?”
Although my mother wasn’t a steady presence in my kids’ lives, Emma has much of her panache and fashion sense. She has my mother’s hand. The first time I saw one of Emma’s pencil sketches of an interior, tears welled in my eyes. She draws just like my mother did — with nearly identical felicity and economy of line, with eerie echoes of my mother’s whimsy and emotional accuracy. Grandma Dolly would have absolutely trilled with glee.
But she’s not here to tell. There’s no number I can call and say, “Mom, guess what your granddaughter did today.” And so I simply enjoy this day and my daughter’s accomplishment on my own, knowing, hoping that in some corner of the Heavens Dolly Bourke is thrilled.
*scroll to page two to see Emma’s wallpaper Enjoy Emma’s whole collection at chasingpaper.com. Click on each wallpaper sample to see it in situ.