Spending Time With Mother (Nature)

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Spending Time With Mother (Nature)

 Today is Mother’s Day in the United States.  A day to thank Mom for all she has done to bear us, for the sacrifices, the love, the meals, the guidance and for her presence.  Mother’s Day has a long and interesting history.  Mother’s Day began as a progressive movement advocated for by a handful of activist women.

  1. In 1858, when Anna Reese Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker, organized “Mother’s Work Days” to improve the sanitation and avert deaths from disease-bearing insects and seepage of polluted water.  Anna began giving carnations to mothers in her Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
  2. In 1872, when Boston poet, pacifist and women’s suffragist Julia Ward Howe established a special day for mothers –and for peace– not long after the bloody Franco-Prussian War.
  3. In 1905, when Anna Jarvis died. Her daughter, also named Anna, decided to memorialize her mother’s lifelong activism, and began a campaign that culminated in 1914 when Congress passed a Mother’s Day resolution.

As the years progressed and commercialization of the holiday began to take over Jarvis’ original intent that the day be an intimate affair between mother and child(ren), Jarvis came to be disappointed in those who sought to monetize love and loyalty.

Source:  http://www.nwhp.org/news/history_of_mothersday.php

As the parade of pastel cards, memorials, tributes to Mom, flowers, dinner and even gardening centers benefit from the day, my thoughts turn to those for whom the day has a different meaning.  Those for whom Mother was not a nurturer, but the source of abuse and neglect.  For those persons, Mother’s Day can be a source of high anxiety and sadness.

For years, Mother’s Day has been a source of sadness and anxiety for me for a number of reasons:  My mother abandoned me at 8 months old, my grandmother and grandfather raised me and my grandmother was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive.  Mom, while occasionally present, really only dealt with me when there was a new relationship in her world.  I am incapable of having children of my own due to endometriosis and the resultant hysterectomy, so the opportunity to be a better mother than my mother(s) is gone.  As I near 50 years old, raising a child is impractical.  I was raised by parents who were in their late 60s when I came along; I know the disadvantages to both parties of that arrangement.

For those of us with abusive backgrounds, the saccharine sentiments on Hallmark cards don’t apply to us:

 

“You have always been there for me.” Huh? No.

“Thank you for always listening to me.” No.

“A mother is a gift from God forever.” No, I didn’t feel that at all.

“A mother sacrifices for her child.” That doesn’t work when mom abandons you at 8 months old and  your grandmother who raised you was abusive.

“Thank you for your love.” I only felt her “love” when there was a new man to show me off to.

So. . .what to do about this Mother’s Day thing.  This year, I will celebrate in a way that affirms me.  Today, I will spend time with Mother Nature.  I will walk with her, hold her in my hands, drink of her perfume, marvel at her beauty and the way she supports me, the way she has given me life and nourishment.  I will allow her to love me and me her.  Today, I will love Mother in a way I have never before.  I will define Mother in my own way and she will bring me peace.

© 2013 Paulissa Kipp

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Inherit The Wind


Inherit The Wind

Longing inspires many things – stories, poems, songs, journeys and from time to time – leaps into the vast unknown.  Longing gnaws, knocks and batters the heart and mind until the only thing left is change or acceptance.  So it is with the longing I have carried in my heart from my early years to know my biological father.  I didn’t know my father, except in name.  Many decades of feeling incomplete have been endured due to a young woman, a war (Vietnam) and circumstances that no one could foresee.

It was the early 60s. Wayne was from a small town, the new kid in town getting training in mechanics through the Manpower program.  She was a young waitress.  Every morning for a year, they met over coffee, greasy eggs, crispy hash browns and toast.  The handsome, genuine eyes, genuine laugh and smile and calming ways drew Carole in.  He in turn found her interest in learning about the world somewhere, anywhere else charming.

When he asked her for a date somewhere other than the diner, she was surprised to find no hesitation.  Laughter, cruising and dancing became a regular event.  Winter turned into spring and the winds of war blew.  He weighed the value of marriage vs the call of country and honoring his military heritage.  Why not both, Wayne asked himself. With a simple gold band and a few dollars, he proposed and to his surprise, she said yes.  Carole began planning a small wedding:  justice of the peace, a simple dress and a few friends and family.  One day the calls, visits to the diner and surprise visits stopped.  Carole asked herself what she had done wrong; they hadn’t argued.  She slowly gave up her dreams – until the letter came.  “Dear Carole, I know that you may not understand my choice and I don’t expect you to forgive me. My country needs me and I need to serve it.  My draft notice arrived last week. I didn’t know how to tell you.  I hope you will wait for me so we can resume our lives when I get back.”

Carole folded and refolded the letter, rubbing her swollen belly.  She didn’t know if he would make it back, so what was the purpose of writing back? In fact, it would only hurt her more.  Her child would be born with a father in name only.  When her baby girl was born, she contacted Wayne’s parents to let them know about the arrival of their 1st grandchild.  She heard nothing.

The pressures of being a young, unwed waitress caught up with Carole and she decided that her baby girl would be best served by being raised by her maternal grandparents.  Her role was relegated to that of a family friend.

FAST FORWARD TO 6 MONTHS AGO

*I decided to attempt to find my biological father for the purpose of knowing his medical history.  I have reached a point at which answering “I don’t know” to a whole battery of family risk factors is too uncomfortable not to make the attempt.  I believe I have found him.  I have contacted him with my name, my mother’s and grandparent’s names and photos of both him and my mom together and myself.  I don’t expect a relationship but even a small amount of information would help to fill in some blanks.  If nothing ensues, well I won’t know anything less than I do know.*  Why did I wait so long to try to find him?  Out of concern.  Not just concern about him rejected me but also a hesitation on my part to disrupt whatever family he may have raised by appearing unbidden on the scene.

This is my bold step and if nothing materializes, at least I tried and that is what counts.  What would longing make you do?

© 2012 by Paulissa Kipp

I am a Curious Lens Goddess, Writer and Artist documenting the world – the beautiful, curious and often overlooked.  I see the infinitely layered world not only with my eyes, but most importantly, with my heart. Find me on Google+:  https://plus.google.com/116071275946594200077?rel=author