Sunday, May 10, 2009
A Mother's Day Protest
Today is Mother's Day. And yes, arguably, it's a holiday that was invented by a greeting card company in an effort to create yet another event that requires a trip to your local Hallmark store. Though, according to Wikipedia, the holiday was originally thought up by a woman named Anna Jarvis, who had noble intentions to simply honor mothers and motherhood, and was notably arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace in an attempt to protest the gross commercialization of said holiday. She later said that the greeting card was for individuals who were too lazy to write an actual letter and that she wished she had never come up with the darn holiday in the first place.
I did not send my mother a card today. Instead, in an effort to honor the true origin of Mother's Day and the wishes of Ms. Jarvis, I offer this.
When I was little, I don't remember exactly how old, there was a day when we lost power. It was in the afternoon, a stormy day. You spread a blanket on the living room floor of our house on Brookcove. Out of the kitchen cupboard you produced a couple of cans of sterno, some marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. You fashioned sticks out of coat hangers and sat with Wendy and me around a makeshift campfire, make s'mores and pretending we were camping in the forest. It was an afternoon I still remember to this day. You were my storyteller.
At around seven or so, you gave me my first cookbook, the one you recently dug out of hiding so it now rests proudly in my collection. We stood together in the kitchen and you helped me make my first recipe, grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You showed me how to dip the sandwich in the egg mixture and watched carefully as I stood over the hot stove and grilled it to perfection. And then we sat together at the end of the island in the kitchen and enjoyed every gooey, melty bite of our creation. You were my teacher.
Later, in school, I got sick. You patiently took me to the doctors to find out what was wrong and then you helped me to understand that my own fears were making me sick. And you were there, every time I needed to call and check-in, helping me make it through each day, until it got better. You were my lifeline.
In high school, you were at every swim meet, feeding me pre-race pasta and cheering me on. You were at every play, clapping louder than the rest. You were there to pick up the pieces when I didn't win the race or get the part. You were my biggest fan.
College brought new challenges - living away from home, managing my own time, making new friends. You were always just a phone call or a plane ride away. And during my hardest round of finals, at the end of freshman year, you were there, quizzing me in the hotel room on music history and talking me down from an overdose of caffeine. You were my rock.
And in the face of the deepest loss imaginable, you listened to me when I no longer had someone else to tell things to. You let me confide in you and talk to you about my life and you treated me as an equal instead of a child. You became my friend.
You are my mom. But that is such a little word for the many things you are to me. And I cannot thank you enough for being the one that brought me into this life and being there for each and every minute of it. I don't think many can claim to have a mom who has never once turned away from her child, not even for a moment. I am one of the lucky few. You are my inspiration and I hope someday to be the kind of mom to my children that you have been to me. Thank you for loving me, raising me, teaching me, fighting with me, making up with me, growing with me and rooting for me. I am blessed to be here because of someone like you.