Tag Archives: Rhode Island School of Design

WISDOM Wednesday: Mother’s Day Godmother©

A story by Malati Marlene Shinazy

Four months pregnant with my second child, I had a vivid dream  — The baby told me clearly that her name was Mary Daniele Erang, and, that she was inheriting all the wisdom of generations of women in our family.

Immediately, I asked my older friend Connie to be her godmother.  Connie was a deeply spiritual writer/poet, with no children of her own.  She gleefully agreed and then instructed me to name the child Jenna Rose.  For five-months I teased her that we planned to name the baby, “Mary Mother-of-God.”

No surprise… she was born looking exactly like Connie:

  •    Beach-ball shaped body
  •    Pursed lips and eyebrows
  •    Wispy reddish blond hair

When I called to tell Connie Mary Mother-of-God had just been born, she slammed down the phone with a quick, “Be right there.” Forty-five minutes later, she burst into the house, panting.

As the sun was lowering into the cold autumn sky, Connie and her goddaughter met face-to-face, and fell in love.

For the next two decades, Connie would immeasurably affect her goddaughter’s life.  Like a tribal ritual, Godmother and I talked, laughed, and argued over nearly every important decision of our daughter’s life.

Connie “allowed” us to name her, approved of my lengthy breast-feeding, and initially opposed sending her to a private girls’ school.  She agreed only after I exhibited research demonstrating the benefits to a girl’s self esteem and achievement.

Violin recitals were Godmother’s proudest early moments. From age 3 – 13, this wild young artist punctuated the baroque musical curriculum with her own passion and flair.

Indeed, she had inherited the gifts not only from her female lineage, as she prophesized in utero, but from Godmother as well:  She was awarded a rarely granted writing scholarship and had her choice of colleges, worldwide.

Connie insisted she consider Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), which is to fine arts what Julliard is to music.  To placate Godmother, our daughter reluctantly flew from CA to RI.

Connie later reported that her goddaughter engaged the admission counselors with several hours of questions and comments.  She was immediately accepted and eventually chose this demanding program.

She studied with honors in Italy, and produced work in most mediums.  The awe-inspiring reflections of her inner world and outer opinion became trophies of Connie’s deep knowledge of her goddaughter. Connie became the proudest and happiest Godmother of all time!

She studied with honors in Italy, and produced work in most mediums.  The awe-inspiring reflections of her inner world and outer opinion became trophies of Connie’s deep knowledge of her goddaughter. Connie became the proudest and happiest Godmother of all time!

Under the weight of her body, Connie’s health waned during those college years.  Nevertheless, she drove six hours to attend RISD’s hot spring graduation on the streets of downtown Providence.

Seeing her child walk the diploma aisle punctuated Connie’s life.  We both sobbed with joyous love and pride.  We held each other’s sweaty arms and later, walked ever-so-slowly to the reception.

During this stroll, I realized that our dream-speaking young woman-daughter fulfilled not only an element of her own destiny that day, but part of Connie-the-Godmother’s as well.

Happy Mother’s Day!

photo by malati marlene shinazy