In Her Presence: Naomi Martin


I often feel like I don’t know a lot about my mom. But there are some things I know: she was brave. She was a joyous fighter. She wanted me to settle for nothing less than extraordinary and she was really cool and beautiful. I know she wasn't a big gifter, but she was a gigantic teacher and thus, a giver. She wanted me to learn it all for myself so that I could do it for myself, and in that sense, she taught me what’s truest and deepest. 

I also know that she was really fun, and I remember her finding so much joy in being a mom. Growing up, one of my favorite little surprises was when she'd bring home empty cardboard boxes. These simple boxes were amazing and there was nothing my imagination couldn't create with them.

And every single time: to space we’d go. These things served as ultimate spaceships. She and I would spend what felt like all day making our ship. An old shoebox would serve as the control center, and the gears and controls were made out of toiler paper rolls. She'd help me color the switch station with buttons and triggers of all kinds and we'd create an open dark sky by cutting and punching small holes into the roof. I can’t remember if she somehow flashed a light into our ship or we had glow in the dark stickers placed on the ceiling, but the dark sky somehow always shined.

Our spaceships were really fun, but it’s the creating together that I remember the most.  I know I’ll always feel like I don’t know my mom the way I’d like to, but I realize that she was teaching me so very much in those boxes. 

So more things I learned: to create, recycle, and find fun in simple, every day life is priceless. In my what’s next, what’s biggest world,  sometimes the best things have been used before. She helped me see that I could make something brand new. 

Even if I have to punch or cut out the holes, light can always shine through. I can find a way and make my own. 

The fun is in the messy building. I’ve wanted to skip the muck, to arrive at the shiny landing place. But as I know when I’m honest, the process and the cutting and the taping is the good part. 

Sometimes I need a dark room and an empty box. This break can come in many forms and shapes, but the important part is to find the quiet space that allows me to step out of my world, and be alone and create.

Fun (and beauty, and all the best things) are simple. Like the box that became our world, I don’t need a lot to be happy. When I think of this truth now, a walk at sunset with my pups or reading in bed with my husband give me a deep, untouchable, sense of peace. I do my best to nurture this.

Always live my moment. Whether I'm in the dark, the light, or floating in space, everything is temporary and someone will always cheer me on. Someone is always shining a light.