Mama has this neighbor, Mrs. I, who lived down the street from us for nearly 40 years. Mrs. I loves Japanese calligraphy and painting, and has a keen appreciation for fine craft, textiles and ceramics in particular. She's been Mama's best art friend for a long time.
A couple of months ago Mama rang me excited because she saw Mrs. I taking out the trash wearing a beautiful handwoven silk scarf. Mama was shocked and chided Mrs. I she shouldn't wear such a lovely scarf while taking out the trash. Mrs. I giggled, washed it, ironed it, and presented it to Mama a few days later.
Fast forward a month or so, I got a care package from Mama, mostly Ben's favorite food, a book, and the said scarf. Mama was so thrilled and mesmerized by the scarf she couldn't help but to give it to her "serious weaver" daughter. I told her I'd photograph it and return it to her, but she had Dad text me to say I can keep it.
I said if she liked it so much she took it off of Mrs. I, she should be wearing it every day and perhaps every night. Mama had Dad text me again saying I can keep it.
The piece is small, woven in natural silks of different sizes, some slubby, some fine boucle, in double weave; one side is like a loosely woven net, the other in a fairly regular plain weave. But how can I say this without hurting Mama's feelings.
It's not my kind of thing.
The texture is interesting, it feels great, and I'm sure it goes with almost anything, but it's just not my kind of thing; I find it terribly boring.
So after a few to-ing and fro-ing, me trying to be a grateful Japanese daughter, Mama being a giving, enthusiastic Japanese mother, Dad, who is blind in one eye, texting what Mama dictated, I just had to turn on the Kiwi Meg, and said, "Look, it's lovely, but it's just not my thing." And I haven't heard from Mama, and Dad hasn't text me about it since.
I feel bad. But I, too, have scarves coming out of my ears. And Mama was uncharacteristically adamant about it, which made me feel as if I had to defend my taste, not so much as a daughter, but as a weaver.
What can I say, it really wasn't my kind of thing. It's going in the post.
Mama turns 79 tomorrow.