For another, and excellent, view of Mothers Day, read Heather Cox Richardson, here. (See in addition Bob’s comment at the end of this post.)
There are an infinite variety of Moms (which I choose to leave without boundaries of gender, age or marital status). I’ve been thinking about “Moms”, and I invite you to do the same.
This day, here are a few “Moms” who come to mind, which happen to all be women, but could be anyone.
Yesterday morning I delivered Mother’s Day plants to two daughters who live in area suburbs.
Daughter Lauri, just across the river in South St. Paul, concluded on Friday a most interesting project, which she began as Covid-19 precautions increased. Walking has never been off-limits here, and what Lauri decided to do was to seek to walk every local street at a pace of about an hour a day…dressed as T-Rex. By yesterday, she’d become an item in Twin Cities area TV news, and invited us over to the last blocks around Vets Field. We joined a small group, all of whom seemed to mostly follow the rules. Here’s a photo (there were several pretenders tagging along with Lauri for the last lap),
Lauri says she has new appreciation for those she used to watch in the Macy’s Parade. It ain’t easy. People of all ages enjoyed the free show one or two at a time from the safety of their home or front yard.
Daughter Joni, is Principal of a 1,000 student Middle School near here, and also the Mom of a high school senior who like every high school senior this year will not have a normal high school graduation. At their home, I noted a lawn sign that says it well.
A week or so ago, Joni’s faculty did a marvelous drive by “parade” at their school – students and parents paraded in their cars on the school bus entrance route past the faculty spread out along the route. We were one of the cars in the parade. It was a marvelous experience.
Sisters Mary Ann and Flo: Mary Ann (she goes by Mary these days) is just south of me in age, and her career has been as a nurse, most of the career in New York State as a Nurse Practitioner. Her most recent message: “I work in health care – I am privileged to work in health care – but I have never felt quite as marginalized and minimized as during this pandemic. While most Americans have drunk the kool-aid of ‘terrify me with possibility of infection and death’ the health care worker is still showing up for work with infected persons and is faced with labeling gowns and masks so they can re-use them after disinfection. We do the best we can and are in general much better at recognizing the presence of infection and doing what we can to break the chain. During my career I have spent time in leper colonies, sitting with active tuberculosis patients, cleaning up the sores of yaws, avoiding mosquitoes and ticks and bed bugs and on and on…always hoping my immune system and my maker would kick in and save the day. I remember days when we had very few gloves and had to re-wash them….gloves are readily available now.” Mary is still filling in, as needed, primarily in Nursing Homes in New York.
Flo’s retirement hobby this year is helping with the U.S. Census in her rural Minnesota county. She notes that only 57% participated in the census 10 years ago, and the lack of participation has consequences for them. They have their reasons. She keeps at it.
Finally, Cathy, my spouse, who’s a tireless Mom for many, including this retired guy!
Some years ago – she can’t remember how they met – she became friends with our across-the-street neighbor, Don. (Photo from Wednesday, below). Don is 90, single, never married, and his friend, John, who checks in on him several times a day by phone, is unable to stop by as he used to. So Don increasingly relies on us for most every thing, including just getting out of his immaculate house once in awhile, such as getting some spring flowers the other day. The old saying “he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother” comest to mind. Don is increasingly aware of pending end of life, is ever more needing a bit of support and encouragement. I help too, but it really was and is Cathy who’s been day-to-day in his corner.
What do these stories bring to mind for you? Have a great day.
There have been two prior posts in May, the 4th and the 8th. Take a look.
COMMENTS (more at the end):
There are numerous brief comments. Here are some more lengthy ones.
from Christina: You wrote about Mothers in your blog and asked for any stories of Mothering.
My son said this year Mother’s day should be called “Care takers day”
My sister just sent me a note telling what her daughter has been up to during this Covid 19 time.
She is a single woman who has just been elected to the city council in her town in Washington.
She doesn’t have any children that she gave birth to, but it sure sounds like she is a Mother to the community.
In my sister’s words:
I have to tell you about Charla’s projects. At first I kinda wanted to shake her because she does such a poor job of taking care of her own life. But she has really gone to town getting food for the people in her community. She bought lots of food through a restaurant who allowed her to order it at their prices, then she distributed to a food bank. Two times she got 150 lbs of ground beef, plus all kinds of other food. She said she finally realized she could not keep it up, so she is soliciting more people to buy food for people who need it. She is not the least bit shy. She said she knows who has money and who does not. So she called some of them and said, “I have a mission for you. Here is your shopping list. ” She is not bashful. As she said, they all seem willing to help, just don’t know how to go about it. Charla’s apartment is a cute apartment on top of a pizza parlor on Main Street. So since the quarantine has been in place, she has been running a bubble machine every evening out of her upstairs window. Word spread and now families come with their small kids in the evenings to play with all the bubbles. She bought out the local stores and ordered bubble soap from Amazon to keep it going. I don’t even want to think of what she has spent on bubbles. Local facebook pages have thanked the person who has the bubbles but they don’t know who it is. A friend of hers told her that for the next campaign, she has to have an emoji of her blowing bubbles on her campaign posters so people will know it was her.
One lady she met said she wanted to provide bubbles. Charla explained how it is hard to find them, and she would prefer that people spend money on food for other people. She told the woman about her neighbors who need help. The woman, whom Charla had never met before, drove to several local communities until she found bubbles in Federal Way.; She bought out all the bubbles from Party City, brought them to Charla, along with a package of diapers and a grocery card gift certificate for the neighbors. Like you said, Christine, there are good things happening.
There are two apartments on Charla’s floor. She has one and the other one is a Hispanic family with three kids, two in diapers. They moved in at the very beginning of the quarantine. Charla thinks the wife might be undocumented along with some of their other relatives. So she has kind of taken them under her wing. She got us to give them cash and cases of diapers and I know she has provided lots herself. The people wrote her the nicest note about how they were looking at a place to rent. They found this apartment and are so grateful because Charla is helping them get through. Charla thinks they have zero money, he is laid off, and when you have undocumented family, it is hard to sign up for anything because you are trying to stay under the radar. Today their little guy dropped off a picture he had colored and a ponytail schrunchy that his mother had crocheted. I thought it was so sweet that they gave that to her. Even if they need food, they still have their dignity.
from Larry: Thanks. I’ll pass it on to [spouse], since my mother’s been gone since 1951. I also wanted you to know that nothing you send will disappear; it’s going in file that has your name on it, for deposit in a proper final resting place that may well outlast us all.
from Bob, supplement to Heather Cox Richardson’s comments:
Too few Americans are aware that early advocates of Mother’s Day in the United States originally envisioned it as a day of peace, to honor and support mothers who lost sons and husbands to the carnage of the Civil War.
Julia Ward Howe was a prominent American abolitionist, feminist, poet, and the author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” She nursed and tended the wounded during the civil war, and worked with the widows and orphans of soldiers on both sides of the war, realizing that the effects of the war go far beyond the killing of soldiers in battle. The devastation she witnessed during the civil war inspired her to call out for women to “rise up through the ashes and devastation,” urging a Mother’s Day dedicated to peace. Her advocacy continued as she saw war arise again in the world in the Franco-Prussian War.
As the call for a Mother’s Day carried on, it gained new momentum and finally became a national holiday in the early 1900’s with the lead of Anna Jarvis, who had been inspired by her mother, also named Anna Jarvis, who had worked with Julia Ward Howe in earlier efforts for a Mother’s Day. She envisioned mother’s Day as a time of recommitment to honoring and caring for mothers, especially mothers who are no longer able to care for themselves. She lived to see Mother’s Day becomes a victim of commercialism, when honoring mothers was reduced to giving flowers, cards and gifts she died in 1948, disappointed and disillusioned that her work has been so trivialized.
While Mother’s Day has presently lost much of its early edge for justice, it’s important to note some of the underpinning intentions and re-commit ourselves to its prescient calling. At a time when our country is again engaged in devastating and costly wars abroad and many of our own communities are torn apart by violence, it’s time for Mother’s Day to return to its roots.
In the spirit of Ward Howe’s original call, this occasion can be a time to dedicate ourselves, on behalf of mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers everywhere, to rise up and protect our most vulnerable by calling for our leaders to make a directional shift in the course of our nation. There is no need more urgent than addressing the devastation brought on by violence in all of its forms – affecting the lives of untold millions in our nation and around the world. Then, we may finally see the carnage and devastation of violence and war fade into its own history. There could of course be no better way to honor our mothers.
MOTHER’S DAY PROCLAMATION
Arise, all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!
We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.
Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage,
for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
It says: Disarm, Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
nor violence vindicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
at the summons of war,
let women now leave all that may be left of home
for a great and earnest day of council.
Let them then solemnly take council with each other as to the means
whereby the great human family can live in peace,
each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress,
that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality,
may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient,
and at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
to promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
the amicable settlement of international questions,
the great and general interests of peace.“