"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

mother's day hindsights

This is a retrospective post, I'm afraid.

All weekend, I was busy Mother's Day'in it up and never really wanted to miss a moment by sitting at a computer typing my thoughts ... though they still bounced around my head.

And then, as luck would have it my abdomen started cramping late Sunday night turning Monday into a day unable to retain any food or water. By Monday night, full blown contractions woke my distressed body out of a restless sleep and I paced the floor trying any combination of things to stop false labor. It took some doing.

I met with my doctor Tuesday and everything is okay enough ... with a warning not to do it again. 32 weeks isn't time enough.

So .... here's the thoughts I wanted to write, even if they are late because I lacked the capacity to record them and regardless of the laundry pile calling my name today.

I was curious about the origins of Mother's Day so I googled it.

Long before the establishment of our current, more commercialized "Mother's Day", Julia Ward Howe (also author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic) rallied for a day of peace where all mother's of the fighting Civil War soldiers would bond together in remembrance that each brother, father, uncle, or nephew on the battlefield was also a beloved son of a heart heavy mother.

It was late.  I couldn't sleep.  And these origins touched me especially as my southern family heritage finds brothers against brothers and fathers fighting sons on almost every field of battle in that same war.

Laying awake, my thoughts drifted to the onslaught of "mommy wars" today.  It seems to be ever present in the media... at least lately.  Who's child rearing choices are socially reasonable.  Career moms vs. stay at home moms. Over-done fertility efforts.  Family numbers exceeding "acceptable" standards.

Why, I can hardly sit in conversation with a bunch of women for one minute before the debates begin around me.

Did one fail because her births were induced?  Is one strange because she wanted a midwife?  Don't give a pacifier.  Do let your baby cry it out.  Don't give a bottle.  Do wear a sling.  Cloth diapers, nursing, baby cereal, potty training .... every mother has a solid opinion.  Just ask her ... or don't, if you're not ready for an earful.

It's enough to make even the best-est of mothers feel inadequate about her most vigilant efforts!

I'm reminded of my cute neighbor who sterilized everything with her first child.  Listened only to Bach and Beethoven.  Read nightly to her infant.  And then with twins in the second go round, found herself solo on a cross country airplane journey frantically quieting dual three month old mouths with dumdum suckers.

Correct me if I'm wrong (cuz if you got one, I'd LOVE a copy!) but I'm pretty sure that last and final push didn't spit out an instruction manual to go with that brand new baby.  Each parent and child is individually different, needing individual attentions and yet, the motherhood profession is increasingly judged and judgmental one to another.

We're all just trying to make it ... and the best way we know how.

Which brings me back to Julia Ward and her day.

Wouldn't it be amazing for mother's everywhere to applaud purposeful efforts?  What if mothers went forward remember that their children ... and all children ... are still on a battlefield day after day and beyond that ... the same battlefield ... though a different kind of battle.

Mothers watch their children fight so many skirmishes daily.  Self esteem. Entitlement, Peer pressures. Decision making. Righting wrong turns. Gratitude. Courtesy. Forgiveness. Good choices. Compassion.

The battles are endless.

Julia wanted women everywhere to recognize the oneness of motherhood. We're in this together.

And wouldn't it be a different world if far and wide our mothering efforts were thought of like joint military tactics preparing for a surprise attack rather than reasons for attacking one another.

In a battle, generals teach soldiers to react instantly to any given situation.

As the mother and "general" of these people I have stewardship over, am I teaching my children to prepare for ambush?

Is it ingrained to forgive?

Is it second nature to deflect negativity?

Will the decisions be firm ... and righteously made?

Do they know how to carefully backtrack from easily triggered buried mines of waiting mistakes?

Do they drop to their knees in prayer without second thought when something hard flies in their direction?

Are they grateful for protection?

Are they willing to forgive?

I love her idea that the battle actually unifies us all.  I loved her simplified view of mothers joining hands in remembering the day to day battles of our children.  And I felt deeply her implication that every individual of a mothering heart, every soul who had ever guided the hand of a child and nurtured or loved or cared should think on those feelings and renew them.

Now, don't get me wrong, I was the first one in line to celebrate and be celebrated come Mother's day.  It was nice.

But I felt greater pause to think.

To renew.

To make more deliberate efforts in how I wanted to be and become, as the mother of my children. To help them succeed on this battlefield now.

Happy Mother's Day and happy continuance in giving your best mothering efforts to the families you love.

1 comment:

  1. Well said my friend. And take care of yourself and that baby! How is it you're already 32 weeks! Wow - that went fast - for me, not you I'm sure.