Tonight I started a class in jewelry casting–where you create what you want out of wax, which is then encased in plaster, and then melted metal is spun into the plaster, vaporizing the wax as it takes the form of what you created. It’s a kind of tangible magic. I have done a bit of this kind of thing before, in High School and one piece since then, but started in the beginner class to get the technical stuff.
I have been looking forward to this, to being able to do something on a regular basis ‘just because.’ My mom recently moved here and that, combined with the return of Addison’s adopted neighborhood grandma and angel of babysitting Roberta, means that I can commit to doing something one night each week for the next month and a half. It’s a wonderful thing.
For me, jewelry is art and very symbolic. I don’t usually wear something because it is pretty. I will wear a pretty thing because it represents something, reminds me of some time, or connects me to someone. When I divorced, I couldn’t sell or dispose of my rings, so I went to a studio in Santa Monica and created a pendant out of wax that, for me, symbolizes the way that my marriage is a part of who I am and who I am becoming. The material is still there, just the shape has changed.
So, tonight, I had an idea of what I wanted to do. I have been thinking a lot about how our lives intersect and connect and disconnect. I want to create jewelry that is the clasp. The connection is the art and the beauty, rather than the afterthought. I am still going to do this.
However, tonight, the instructor wanted us to start on rings. I didn’t have an idea for a ring. Then, it came to me. I wanted to do a ring for Addison, that represents his place in my life. I decided that I would do it in a way that I could give it to him someday, maybe as he goes off to college or something, to remind him of the love I have for him and the preparation he has had to create his own life. I began imagining two bands that connect without intertwining, his starting off slim and supported by mine, and then broadening until mine is less visible.
This idea is challenging to carve out of wax. I started twice, cutting new bands of wax to work with, meditating the whole time on how to represent the experience that I have had of developing a secure attachment (for him) even as I let go (for him). I have written about this before, in “Mama’s here” and “Killing me softly.” For the better part of three hours, I was immersed in thoughts about this and how to express it in this new medium.
Class ended and one of my classmates offered to drop me home. I had walked up to Barnsdall Park for class pushing Addison in his stroller. Roberta came to meet us and took him to play for a bit before bed. I left my jacket in the stroller and it was cold-ish and late when we came out. My classmate asked me how old Addison is. “This is my baby,” she said, handing me a photo. I looked at what appeared to be a sleeping newborn. Then noticed the words at the bottom. “Rest in peace, little dude.” I looked at her. “He died,” she said, tears in her eyes.
All I could say was, “I am so sorry.”
I would have said, “I can’t imagine” but I can. I want to know that his life will go on endlessly, supported by my love. I want to make it real in wax and metal. But I know. This connection is tenuous, each moment a gift.
I wrote before that I want to be there when he dies, and I do. I don’t want him to face that alone, without his mama to help him over. Now I just have to figure out how to live with it if it does happen that way.
And tonight, my heart is with this other mother, who doesn’t get to go check to make sure her boy is still breathing, who will never get to hear her son call “mama.” My heart is with her, and it aches, and at the end of the night there is no magic.