When you pick a card at my store for your mom for Mothers Day, there are many dynamics at play. There is of course, what you want to say. And what your mum wants to hear. Some years, Mothers Day might come at a tender time when things in your family are complicated, so you seek a card that makes some sense of that, others you need a gushy card to try and say all the gratitude you feel. I see many folks lingering a long time over our Mothers Day display before selecting a card. I don't ask, but I'm dying to hear the thoughts, feelings and stories of "mom" zipping through your minds. So I thought I'd share my card-selection process, and if you want, send me yours. I'd love that.
This is the card I picked for me mumser. I like how it looked because it's not all flowery which is not our style, at least not this year, and because it calls her "Mom" and not mother, which is what I call her (when I'm not calling her mumser or "Nanimator", a take on her grandma-honorific, Nani). Mostly, though, I was drawn to the" swinging a hammer" bit, because my mom is pretty much badass — to use my daughters' word for awesome, inspiring, powerful — in her own 1960's stay-at-home mom kind of way.
Here's an example: when me and my two sibs were born (1959-1964), Dr. Benjamin Spock's book "Baby and Child Care" (1946, and still in print), was second in sales only to the Bible. It's message was "you know more than you think you do", and it was apparently ground-breaking as previous experts advocated rigid schedules and not-too-much affection or the kiddies might be soft and not independent. Spock was more of a trust your instincts, every child is different sort of dude. (I didn't know these things, I looked it up on Wikipedia - where I also learned that Spock was on the 1924 Olympic-gold-medal-winning American rowing team - making my thoughts wander to that great book "Boys in the Boat" except for Spock went to Phillips Andover and Yale, so .... Do you see how hard it is for me to get things done when there are so many other interesting tangents to explore??)
Anyway back to my mom: she thought Spock presumptuous in soothing her into being more confident. She knew she knew what she was doing, and when she didn't she called her mother. She just didn't care what everyone else did, even when literally everyone else did it. Here's another: I remember, or I think I do, that when we moved to the house I grew up in, the neighbors came over with baked goods to say hello and welcome (those were the days). We kids were busy running through the empty house, rough-housing and finding fun echo-chambers by yelling back and forth. Her main form of discipline was "noses in the corner" and so when her new friends got their first impression of the family that day, each of us had a nose in three of the corners in the dining room which was completely visible from our front door. You might think she would be embarrassed either by the fact that her children were clearly rotten or her odd parenting methods - and let us out of our punishment. So that we could smile politely and make-nice to the neighbors. It's funny that you thought that. NO, SO not her style. They came in and she explained the situation, gesturing at us with her hand, and went on chatting cheerfully with her new friends. See what I mean? Badass.
One more — remember those blue bloomers we wore in gym class? I'm (only) 52, and we totally wore them all through the early eighties when I was in high school, so yes they are vintage but it wasn't that long ago. Pretty hilarious. When I was I think a junior, York High switched over to shorts and tees for girls' gym, but we were given a grace period to go buy them. I didn't really see the need, so I wore my blue bloomers on and on, until I was the only one in them. Truly blithe in my bloomers, I spent zero time thinking about how quirky I must have looked. Without realizing it, I'd been schooled by my mother already. My husband Dave and I laugh when he remembers seeing the bloomered, 17-year-old me from his side of the gym and thinking "I like that one."
Maybe my mom is why in 1993 the video for the Blind Melon song "No Rain" made an instant impact on me. You have to watch it now before reading further and you must keep watching until the end. OK, click the link below now.
If you didn't do as I said, go find a corner and put your nose in it for awhile and then watch it.
Oh good, you watched it — isn't that the greatest? I connected with bumble bee girl on a visceral level the first time I saw her and she strikes me hard still. You too? At that time in my life I needed reminding of how badass a bumble bee can be and I left one job for another where there were lots of bees like me.
So that's why I picked the card I did for my mom. Even though she didn't face a corporate glass ceiling, in her own quiet way (she's not an in-your-face badass, just firmly and confidently resolved) she gave me a hammer and showed me how to swing it. Thanks, - I am truly "grateful to be your daughter," and we will pick you up at 11 on Sunday to have brunch with your badass granddaughter.