Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

I enjoyed reading yesterday about, Anna Jarvis, the woman who started Mother's Day. Her own mother had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers in the Civil War. Jarvis wrote letters to President Teddy Roosevelt and even Mark Twain in an effort to create a national day to honor mothers. But it wasn't until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother's Day a national holiday. I love obscure facts and information (another reason I adore my new husband--so does he! and we share them all the time!) so this story certainly appealed. But I also liked that the holiday was born from love and the desire to honor mothers. In fact, Jarvis tried to sue Hallmark because they took away from handwritten personal expressions of love.

Of course if you are a mother, Mother's Day reminds you of when you had your children and all kinds of warm and fuzzy things about them and motherhood. I was so happy to spend Mother's Day morning with my kids at breakfast at Cafe Cluny. And I was happy to drive with Annabelle from NYC back to RI with a Fiat full of Sichuan food for my own 85 year old mother. The three of us ate dumplings and orange beef and about seven more dishes. All in all, a lovely day in which I felt both feted and celebratory.

But when I woke up and stared out at the bright blue sky, what I felt was sorrow. When you've lost a child, Mother's Day is a double edged sword (forgive the cliche). It brings back all the joys that were Gracie. And all the pain of losing her. As I lie there, my family sleeping around me, I thought of the pain motherless daughters must also feel on this day. Holidays make loss so present, so felt.

Yet, as we must, I delighted in the hugs from sleepy Annabelle, and the cards she'd written from her and our cats, Hermia and Gertrude. My heart expanded with love and joy that my grown son made the hour trek from his apartment Brooklyn to meet me at 10:30 in the morning for breakfast, and that he'd copied a picture from the wedding as a gift. And I was filled with gratitude that my mom is still here, smoking cigarettes and giving advice and wrapping me in love.

Oh! The human spirit never fails me. How we ache! How we love so deeply!

I hope your own day reminded you of love gone and love here, and that you enjoyed the lilacs that are blooming all over New England, and even the lovely rain that fell last night.

May I share a favorite poem of mine about lilacs?

And now a catch up on my knitting, which I have been doing quite a lot of lately. My travel project is a summer scarf in blue and white from Mason-Dixon Knitting's Snippets newsletter. It uses the helical striping method, which I am now offically addicted to. Such a fun project! My home project is called a Swoncho and comes via The Yarn Lady in Florida. It's a loose pullover sweater/poncho hybrid that I'm knitting in the yummiest spring grass green. I like sitting with Annabelle in the evening and doing my increases and purls. Hopefully I will finish them both before summer ends so I can actually wear them!

My darling husband has been asking me to teach him to knit for a long time now. At Christmas I gave him yarn and needles and finally on our trip to Cuba he started a dish rag. I daresay he is a natural knitter and is hooked on it! Next up for him, a scarf, maybe in Mistake Rib.

Speaking of my husband, please read his terrific new book, GROCERY, which is part social commentary, part reporting on food in America, and part memoir. He is on the west coast promoting it this week, so if you are in San Francisco, Portland OR, or Seattle, please go and hear him talk on this fascinating and important subject.

While he's away, I will revise my newest book--a YA novel! Details on it and more coming soon!