Monday, May 11, 2015

How was this day different from all others? It was Mother's Day

Mother's Day is kind of a strange occasion.Anna Jarvis just wanted to commemorate the good works of her own mother after she died in the early 1900's.  Her mother had been a peace activist in Civil War times and started Mother's Work Day groups to improve public health.  The Senate was encouraged to proclaim a national Mother's Day observance, but refused because they didn't want to have to honor mothers-in-law.
Eventually, Woodrow Wilson prevailed and the "holiday" was instituted in 1914.  Hallmark got into the biz by 1920 and Ms. Jarvis was chafed.  She tried to rescind the whole thing. She hated the commercialism.
It certainly had little to do with toddlers making cards for their mums. Or Dads getting their kids to be surrogate compliment givers.

Turns out my husband was right... it isn't about Motherhood or ALL mothers.  It's supposed to be about your OWN.  And it isn't supposed to be about mothering, either.  So many women who want(ed) to be mothers but who weren't suffer through this day.  Not to mention the women whose children are lost or gone.

I don't know what my children were thinking about me as they planned our Mother's Day outing.  Someday, I'd like to know what they thought about me as a mother.

What I do know is that they invested a lot of planning and thought to making it happen. The priorities seemed to be
  • Food
  • Bird and nature watching with a wee bit of walking thrown in
  • Something creative
  • More food

We met at the Mad Raven in Waltham, MA for brunch.   My husband, grown kids and granddaughter.  The coffee was great, the omelet satisfying and conversation relaxed.  Note to self:  do not talk about their Dad.  Almost 30 years and there's still pain about a divided family.  Sad for this mother.

Then we were each gifted with a rubber stamp, an ink pad, and a mini notebook.  My son's team got a crown stamp, I got a camera with a heart in it, and my daughter's was something about woman power. We were going to go Letterboxing.  I had heard of it, but not done it.  My daughter has searched out several letter boxes (the web site is and she thought it would be fun for all of us to do.  It is a sort of combined treasure hunt, nature walk, and excuse to do something together.  GREAT IDEA.
We had been told to wear comfortable shoes and it was a BEAUTIFUL day.  I'm not sure we've had Spring, but this was summer-like in all the best ways. We headed for "the parking lot in back of Shaw's Grocery and found the path.  They we took a gander (!) at the instructions for finding the letter box.  Um.  They were vague.  VERY VAGUE.

Obviously,  some of the clue writers have never done that high school speech assignment about giving instructions.  "Count 40 steps past the marker in the ground."  "Pass the second pair of granite markers..." which were probably 2500 steps past the first pair! But undaunted, my daughter tried to figure them out.
We never found this particular letter box, but did have a nice walk/hike.  It was a challenge for me and possibly my VERY pregnant daughter-in-law.  Hubby bailed out because his joints hurt.But it was an honest effort, invigorating and definitely a shared experience.

But I loved wandering with my family members, chatting and watching for birds, bicyclists, squirrels and people sleeping on the benches.  Hard to imagine that this path was completely overgrown  not too long ago.

 I recognized Mallards, Herons, Robins and nearly ubiquitous Canada Geese.  I did admire the gumption of the one who was perched on the antique train trestle. If you search on line, there's also a great treatise on all of the wild, native plants the conservationists planted in the area.

And then there was more food.  I should probably have just had water, but Dairy Joy had fantastic Yelp reviews about their soft serve.  I had coffee flavored... and it was indeed creamy and delicious.

I arrived home with tired feet, a tender heart and a sunburned neck, knowing that even though I wasn't a peace activist, suffragette or crusader, the children were willing to spend time together-- while NOT succumbing to the commercialization that irked Mrs. Jarvis so much.

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