Life in the Slow Lane

Contemplating life, faith, words, and memories

Retrospective on Mother’s Day — May 12, 2013

Retrospective on Mother’s Day

Anna Jarvis was the force behind founding Mother’s Day in the US. Despite never marrying and having children, Anna Jarvis is known as the Mother of Mothers Day, a proper title for one who worked hard to show honor to all mothers.

Anna’s mother, Mrs. Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis, was her inspiration. An activist and social worker, Mrs. Jarvis often expressed a wish that someday someone would honor all mothers, living and dead, and pay tribute to their contributions.

A loving daughter, Anna never forgot her mother’s words and when her mother died in 1905, she resolved to fulfill her mother’s wish. The growing negligent attitude of adult Americans toward their mothers and a wish to honor her mother soared her ambitions.

Anna along with supporters wrote letters to people in positions of power lobbying for the official declaration of Mother’s Day holiday. By 1911, almost every state in the Union recognized Mother’s Day, and on May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

It is unfortunate to note that Anna Jarvis, who devoted her life to the declaration of Mother’s Day, was deeply hurt to note the huge commercialization of the day as time passed on.

(Adapted from Mother’s Day History)

 * * *

My memories of Mother’s Day are a bit cloudy, filled with confusion, and frustration. Each year it was a shopping trip with Dad to buy a Mother’s Day gift and card for Mom.

When I was young, the experience was not meaningful to me because Dad did the shopping and card picking. However, later as an adolescent with good reading skills and developing interpersonal skills, I would read the cards in the stand at the drugstore and think to myself:

  • If I give her this card, it will be telling a lie.
  • This card talks about her love for me — another lie.  She doesn’t love me.
  • Sugary, flowery, and filled with accolades that didn’t apply — more lies.

So I would move on to the next store.  And they were all the same.

It was almost like it would be easier if I had no mother to celebrate on this special occasion. Gripping pains in my heart and mind made it an almost unbearable experience.  How was I to honor a mother who didn’t care, who worked at frightening and demoralizing, who seemed to find her joy in hurting?

Then, I became a mother.  My son brought home handmade cards.  He picked out some trinket at the five-and-dime. They brought smiles to my face.  Pain upon pain missing something that the very woman to be celebrated on this day set aside to celebrate mothers had taken away.

Years later we moved away.  I thought it would be easier now — order flowers, have them delivered, somebody else would sign the card.  And yet, it was the act of choosing to send this magnificent bouquet.  I went through the motions on an annual basis. It was what this day required of me.

Finally, one year — 2001 — I knew what to do. I knew which card to select. I knew why she had been the way she was toward me. Silently forgiveness had graced our relationship as she lay dying.  Then, I could only wish I had known the “other woman” she was a little longer.

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that
it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

~ Anne Lamott

Simplify — February 11, 2013

Simplify

When I posted here on December 31, 2012, I spoke to the need to recover balance in my life and family, specifically seeking God’s guidance in what He has in store for me.  Since then, I’ve posted only once — a book review of Morning at Wellington Square by Susan Wiedener.
I have spent some small spaces of time in quiet reflection, dabbling in my writing projects, and expended huge amounts of time on failing laptops and computer equipment and getting those replaced or repaired.  In so doing, I have been given in those special quiet moments a word on which to reflect in 2013:

simplify

By placing the word “simplify” at the forefront of everything I seek to accomplish, I’m hopeful that when I feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the direction I should take I’ll simplify.  By leaving something behind, perhaps undone for the time being, and allowing myself to find those quiet moments again.

But I must admit I’ve missed the blogging and writing community.  I need to write — it is where I find myself most at home and thriving in my own creative world.  My husband has his creative niche — art and design — and mine is the need to use language, words, communication to bring my world alive.

So, I’m easing back in to blogging and writing and will begin to be more active as time and life allow.  After all, simplify is my mantra for now.  I can make it as simple as I want.

Seeking Quiet and Invisibility — December 31, 2012

Seeking Quiet and Invisibility

“It’s time to fall back in love with your artand practice invisibility.”
~ Don McAllister of Linchpin Bloggers

Not too long ago I wrote a series of posts on time management.  Wondering how in the writing world I could or would find time to build a platform, find my tribe and keep up with social media AND write my memoir.  Sadly, I have found the answer.  The source of the answer has been a huge cost to my family and me in two ways.

First, a vicious and devastating illness trapped my husband’s brother in a rapid cognitive and physical decline.  We spent many miles and hours traveling to help with his care beginning in January 2012 until his passing on November 19th.  And then we spent about three weeks after that assisting his wife with details of a service, the estate, and much more.

About the same time, we learned that the oldest of our three children, a son aged 41, has cancer.  A highly treatable form, testicular cancer, and yet the word “cancer” itself is unsettling, unnerving, unwanted.  Our emotions are still tied in bundles as we await a visit with an oncologist.

During the weeks since November 19th, I’ve had lots of time to think. While away from home at that time, our schedule didn’t allow for computers.  It meant a forced stepping away from blogging, emails, social networking, writing. Upon returning home, sadness has kept me away from all this during the last month. It’s amazing when forced to give up all these cyber-tools how comfortable we can become without them.

I’m not certain just yet what God is trying to tell me, and if you know me at all, you know my faith is in Him and His Word.  What I do know is the season of my life is changing.  I can feel it, but I can’t yet wrap my arms around it.  One thing is for certain — God wants more of me than I have given.

There are things in our family order that need to be tended to and I need to be there for those who need me.  Simply said, I need to be the wife and mother I signed on to be long ago.

In order to listen more closely to God’s guidance in this part of my life, I have decided to grant myself a season of retreat.  For the next three months — January 1, 2013 – March 31, 2013 — this blog will, for the most part, be inactive.  Starting now, I’m turning off comments.  I am eliminating such distractions as social media and blog comments from my days.

My season of grief and sorrow is fading but I am uncertain about my future as a blogger.  During the time that I am not here, I hope to continue work on two projects:

  • Drafting my memoir
  • Research into the orphanage system of this country during the late 19th and early 20th century in preparation for a book about my father’s life as an orphan

In addition, I have registered for a writing workshop, Beachside Writers 2013, in Yachats, Oregon (March 1-3, 2013).  A place to learn from experienced writers, a place to meet new writing friends, and a quiet place by the Pacific to reflect.

For the time being, I hope that some of the friendships I have made through my writing interests will continue.  You my contact me via email, or find me on this blog’s Facebook page, but otherwise I need to retreat into a quiet space and time with My Master and listen for His Words to direct my next steps.