Mother’s Day 2013

Mother’s Day, 2013, the sixth year I get this one for my own.

Reading the history of the Mother’s Day holiday in America, understanding the motivation in Julia Ward Howe’s always makes me…rueful.

That this day brings pain to as many people it brings joy hurts my heart in sympathy. It’s hard to watch the giddy folks when you are miserable- whether it be the loss of a child, or a loss of a parent.

I get it. For the many years before I had my own biological distractions, Father’s Day was that holiday for me. Part of my unrepentant selfishness on Mother’s Day has to be the result of how singularly I’ve shifted the focus on Father’s Day from my Dad to Joel.

To my own Mom– the fact that your Mother’s Day card is still upstairs, stampless, does not reflect my love and appreciation. It does reflect my inability to face a post office on a Saturday. And a week full of kid-related obligations, followed by deliberately going in public after stamps made me feel…postal.

So I have carved this holiday into being about me in a way that is slightly tactless.

    JB: “Do you want me to buy that Kindle for Mother’s Day? Or maybe those cowboy boots?”
    Me: “I want the three of you to go away in the morning and not come back until at least 3pm.”
    JB: “But…”
    Me: “No. Really. Y’all have got to get the hell out of here and leave me alone. I need 6 full hours where I can blast my music without explaining why no one should repeat the lyrics. To be silent so the thoughts in my head can escape before they succeed in choking me to death. That’s right, my thoughts are becoming corporeal. Never good, Joel.

I want to “lock” myself in A Fort of My Own, only getting distracted on my own terms. If I have to spend another day* being anyone but Just Stephanie I’m gonna fucking explode.

Sounds a little psychotic, yeah? Perhaps some anger management issues? Meh, I know myself, what I need, and how much I can take before I crack. Just as I have explained the fact that I drip sweat from May to August in this state– letting the toxins out technically makes me healthier.

This morning as I listened to the… nothing… I tried to even make myself feel a little guilty about it.

I’m thrilled to admit I was not successful. And that I laughed way too hard at many of these e-cards.

May this be a guilt-free, peaceful weekend for you all– regardless of how (or if) you celebrate.

*If one of them had woken up sick, I’d have swallowed that bubble for another day, because that’s what you do for those that you love–especially your children. Or if my good friend needs my internet searching skills. These things don’t count.

They Call Me Mom

They call me Mom, and now, 5 years in, I had the perfect Mother’s Day.

Not that the others have been at all bad, they just weren’t perfect.

On my first Mother’s Day, JB bought me a little snow cone machine.
What, you say?

You see, my first real job (which required a wee exaggeration about my age) was back up snow cone maker at the flea market. People, you haven’t lived until you’ve worked at either a flea market or as a carnie. These things are important, eye-opening life experiences.

My second Mother’s Day I was puking my way through the first trimester of Elliot’s gestation. I spent several months bitterly accusing everyone of hiding onions in their pockets since no where in existance was there a place not reeking with onion taint. I also febreezed the dogs. A lot.

My third Mother’s Day… um? I had a small infant with weight gain issues and a 2 1/2 year old. I don’t even remember the third one.

My fourth Mother’s Day, I hosted my mom and her sister as part of Mom’s 60th birthday. The original plan was for JB to take the boys with him, but large chunks of the interstate were torn up from a really nasty tornado a few weeks beforehand. Since he was getting blasted from all sides with reminders about the fury of mother nature– a lot of damage near and around us, he was really suffering with the anxiety. So instead of getting breakfast cooked for me, I was cooking breakfast. Hunh, suddenly not feeling so bad about my own mom’s tardy Mother’s Day present this year.

This one though, the fifth Mother’s Day? Perfect Mother’s Day.

And why? Because I was selfish as hell today, y’all. Couldn’t have done it without my darling husband–so much thanks JB!

I slept in, ate waffles that I didn’t cook, crawled back into bed to read, took a nap. Woke back up at 11 am(!), called my own mom. Ate a lunch I didn’t cook, listened to my oldest read a book about Tom Sawyer, played with pictures, and then ate a dinner I didn’t cook. Sort of ran. Surfed the internet.

I didn’t do a load of laundry, wash a dish, wipe a butt, or blow a nose. I didn’t negotiate fights. I didn’t do bath time, change bed sheets, or answer the whining cries of over-tired children.

I didn’t do a single load of laundry (I’ll regret that tomorrow), vacuum up a single speck of dog hair, sweep a single floor. I sneered at a dirty toilet (BOYS!), but didn’t clean it.

JB bought me a cordless, lightweight drill. Perfect for my oddly child-sized hands. My kids made Mother’s Day cards with a Ghostbuster’s theme.

I totally rocked my pipe-cleaner bracelet today.

More than that, I sat and thought about the many things that made me happy last week, even during a week where many things made me sad, angry, and mean.

Watching this guy swagger into preschool graduation, very full of himself (in a good way).

Excuse me a minute, wasn’t he a year old, like a minute ago? I didn’t get all weepy about him graduating; I really enjoy having semi-self-sufficient children. I’m thrilled that my sleep deprivation is now by choice, and that I no longer wear spit up in mockery of flower corsages.

Then there is my entomologist in training. I already heard the phrase “we can catch the lady bugs with the light sabers” when the Small People and the Small People friends released a dozen in the bedroom… on accident, of course. It doesn’t take much for me to recognize that I will eventually find some container of unrestrained bugs in my house.

But only the worms get to drive the John Deer.

There is something very sweet about the three year old– because when life is very good for him it’s very good. And when it’s not good, he very calmly asks for a meeting.

We played host to Jenny, which was lovely because she’s a lovely girl. On the morning of her scheduled departure, Elliot was kind enough to pack her suitcase and roll it to the front door. I mean, she wasn’t leaving until around dinner, but he was ready. It would seem that splitting the attention of his two favorite people, me and Zach, isn’t on his To Do list.

Or maybe he had Batman shirt envy.

Bow-chicka-wow-wow, lady bug love. It makes me giggle, because I’m 12.

Having a fellow drill-as-gift-recipient and DIYer link to me in a Mother’s Day post as a mom who makes her think. I like to make people think, as long as it isn’t “what a ditz”.

And finally, Noah, covering I’m Sexy and I know it.

The History of Mother’s Day

One of my favorite things is to look up the origin story for celebrated holidays. Today, The History of Mother’s Day.

The first of the Mother’s Day celebrations can be traced back to Ancient Greece and festivals honoring Rhea, the mother of the Gods (most notably, Zeus). As part of the assimilation of Christianity, the holiday was then rebranded as a day to honor Mary. It eventually morphed into a day to honor all of the mothers in England.

Read More

The Mother’s Day movement was largely forgotten in the United States until 1870 when Julia Ward Howe wrote a declaration for women to rise up, to oppose war and violence, and to stand in peace.

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!
Say firmly: “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 taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”

Read the rest of her Declaration

Sadly, Julia never got the day of peace she sought, but her work influenced another woman–Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, whose message influenced her own daughter, Anna Jarvis, who campaigned—and won—a day to recognize all of the efforts of mothers to their children.

Margaret Mead—your words, though now a cliche’ are ever so true: “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

My first Mother’s Day present was a cheap-o snow cone maker. Why? Because my first paying-taxes-job was working weekends (illegally—I was only 15) at the flea market making snow cones. That gift meant more to me than any diamond would have, because it was just so…appropriate.

This year we planted blueberries—a family favorite—to honor Mother’s Day. We all went to the Farmer’s Market and picked locally grown, pesticide-free plants. We planted them in organically-prepared soil, in a bed built by our own hands. We watered them with water collected in our rainbarrel and fed them with a tea made from our own compost.

I taught my oldest son what a root-bound plant was—and he actually kept me from buying one when I wasn’t paying attention to my own lesson a mere 10 minutes later.

I use this as a day to remind myself that I have important life lessons to teach my children. Lessons delivered to them more through actions than words. I use this as a day to remind myself that my children are teaching me lessons that I have forgotten during my tour as a cynical adult; lessons of innocence, of unconditional love, of wonder, of discovery.

From now on I will also use this day to honor Julia and her intent for this day; to celebrate our similarities instead of our differences. To say to mothers across the world that their children are just as important as my children.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone; may your day be full of peace and joy. And maybe a delicious Denver omelet with a side of strawberries with fresh whipped cream made by someone else.