Monday, May 9, 2011

mother's day after

Mother's Day is weird, you guys. It just is. It was started as a proclamation by a pacifist, feminist mother who wanted to claim her role as a mother as a valid place from which to stage political action and demand political change.

Now it's a Hallmark holiday - an opportunity seized upon by those looking to make money, and a day where the balloons, flowers, gifts and what-not doubtless do make some mothers feel great, but leave others in the cold. I am thinking of those who have lost children, who are still waiting for children, who do not have the relationships with or experiences of their own mothers that they wish they did, or whose mothers are lost to them.

So it's weird. I have mixed feelings about it and while I love celebrating my own mother, step-mother, and mother-in-law (because they are awesome and worth celebrating any day of the week) I don't really feel great about a "traditional" mother's day for myself. And of course I think about Z and have mixed feelings there too.

So, instead of doing that (whatever that might have been) I had a great Sunday at a church that doesn't make a big deal out of Mother's Day (for reasons I mentioned above) and a good afternoon with the special person I get to be a mommy to, and an evening overflowing with friends and neighbors and good food and laughter, followed by a couple episodes of futurama watched from my favorite spot cuddled next to the special person I get to be married to. All in all I'm ridiculously lucky, because it wasn't a special day at all - just a regular Sunday around these parts.

So I may not be able to fully get behind Mother's Day. But I can get behind the proclamation that according to some started it all. So here it is. By Julia Ward Howe:

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.


  1. Love this proclamation. I had not read it before. Thanks for sharing!

    And, I can definitely relate with your mixed feelings about the holiday. Between mother's day and S's first birthday coming up, lots on my mind. I miss being able to process all these thoughts with you! Sigh....

  2. Dayspring!! I miss you too. Phone date???

  3. Well actually the idea came at least partly from visiting your mother church on the third Sunday of Lent...

    (I'm sure she must have heard of the idea, at least!)