Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day: Here are a Few of My Favorite Things

Photo-My Mother's Teacup

Mother's Day. Most people think it was invented by Hallmark, some kind of made up holiday to sell cards and flowers. It wasn't. Julia Ward Howe began it as a day to unite mothers around the world in world peace.  I thought that might be too lofty a goal, so I told my kids I didn't care what we did, I just wanted us to all be together in the same room at the same time.   

It turned out to be a fun day because I went to see a local children's theater production of "Sound of Music" with three of my grandchildren, my daughter, and Aiden's maternal grandmother. The movie with Julie Andrew's is  the all time  favorite of Rebecca's and mine. We've watched it over and over during our sleepovers and we mostly have the words down for most of the songs. So, for the two of us, it took everything we had not to sing along, loudly. The newest baby, 11 week old  Belle, slept and nursed through the whole play. Aiden, although he behaved beautifully, started squirming an hour into it. After the musical, my son and his wife with 9 month old baby Lily joined us at a popular local restaurant.

I looked around the table at Rebecca, Aiden, Lily, and little baby Belle, my son and his wife and my daughter and understood how incredibly rich I am, how fortunate to have so many people to love and who love me in my life. Rebecca sipped blueberry lemonade and ate Mac and Cheese, Aiden munched on vegetables, Lily sat in a high chair and banged her spoon on the table. Lily had a white lacey headband on around her head al a Olivia Newton-John. I played peek-a-boo with her and she giggled. Aiden crawled under the table and came for a hug. Rebecca, in her blue velvet dress, alternated between leaning next to me and trying to get Lily to laugh. Belle slept through the whole thing. I opened presents; a mini-food processor, a tile with Belle's baby footprint, and a super dooper expensive razor that I wouldn't buy for myself. I had a recent bad encounter with a dollar store razor and my daughter took mercy on me.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe began Mother's Day as time for women to gather for the purpose of ending war. The first time I read her speech, I knew exactly what she was saying. My own son, then 20, would have been eligible to be drafted for the first Gulf War. I knew that I hadn't raised him to be taken from me for nonsensical reasons by a president I saw as hasty and full of ego. It was not only sons who are the casualties of war, but the civilians, mothers, daughters, husbands, all loved and precious to their families. I knew that mothers all over the world loved their children with the same fierce intensity as I did.

These are Howe's words:

"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, the women of one country,

Will be too tender of those of another country

To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

Amen, Julia. Happy Mother's Day!

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