Mother’s Day Nails in Memory of Mom

Mother’s day is a mixed bag of emotions.  On the one hand it’s wonderful.  I have two little boys who are so excited to celebrate any holiday and they’ve been saying, “I love you, Mommy” all day.  On the other hand it’s painful.  I lost my mother to cancer 11 years ago and it’s hard to be surrounded by the “tell mom you love her” messages when I would give my left arm to be able to do so.

A friend messaged me this morning and told me she was thinking about a story I told her today.  She and I had been talking about life and loss and grief and I told her that no matter how distant my mother’s passing gets with time, I’ll always have tangible proof of her existence in my own body.  I have a vertical groove in my right thumbnail that is pretty distinct and pretty un-buffable.  I could buff all day but this groove is never going to level out.  One day several years ago I was going after it with a buffing block and had a sudden flash of memory.  In my mind’s eye I could distinctly see my mother sitting in our family room, going after her right thumb with a buffer and saying, “No matter what I do I can’t get rid of this groove.”

I have this groove in the exact same location as her.  The easy, “duh” answer is that I inherited the flaw in my nail matrix, the same way I inherited her eye color.  But it means more to me.  It’s a very specific cellular flaw that wouldn’t exist without her cellular flaw.  It’s my groove, and it was her groove.  And if everything that was hers was wiped away, I would still have this connection.

My friend reminded me of that story this morning and suggested that I honor her today by doing something in my nails to call it out.  I loved the idea.

Mothers Day Nails

Two coats of Orly’s Pure Porcelain, with a stripe of Cult Nails’ Seduction and a coat of Essie’s Shine of the Times.  Still growing out that broken ring finger nail.

The stripe highlights the groove, which I’ve long since stopped trying to buff out and instead use a ridge filler to conceal.  I originally considered just doing the stripe in black for contrast but then I had another bit of inspiration.

Like most girls, my mom was my first source of pretty things like jewelry.  When I was in middle school I decided I was old enough for a real ring, and asked for an opal for Christmas.  We had a collection of costume jewelry and the deep fiery rainbows swimming in the opal pieces caught my eye.  It’s what I wanted, an opal of my own,  When I woke up on Christmas morning I had a small velvet box in my stocking, and inside was my very own opal ring from my mom.

A few months after she passed away I was back in Michigan visiting my family.  I stopped off in a little boutique she loved, where she’d bought me another ring and earrings a few months before the end.  I found myself back there and felt like I wanted to buy myself something, symbolically passing the role of jewelry provider from her to myself.  Taking it over in my adulthood, I suppose.  I chose a pair of opals set with small purple glass stones.  I wear them on the most special occasions, not because they’re particularly fancy or valuable, but because they mean the most to me.


I chose Cult Nails’ Seduction because it’s a sheer purple base with lots of warm-toned flakies, similar to Nfu Oh 51 but less heavy handed.  I followed up with Essie’s Shine of the Times to lend some opalescence to the whole nail.

It’s not complicated, but it pulled together some of the most important symbols for me on Mother’s Day.

Thumb With Ring

Orly’s Pure Porcelain, a stripe of Cult Nails’ Seduction and a coat of Essie’s Shine of the Times.


About Smapte

I crochet. I crochet a lot. My speciality is amigurumi dolls based on pop culture entertainment, such as LOST, Star Trek, Mad Men and Firefly. I also crochet beanie hats with food items on them such as pancakes, sushi, burgers, spaghetti, or whatever sounds hat-worthy. Visit me at or

Posted on May 13, 2012, in Misc and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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