Wednesday, May 5, 2010

An Anti-Drivel Mothers' Day Post

I can't repost my recent rant about why you should stop saying "Happy Mothers' Day" without appearing to be a lazy blogger who has run out of ideas, so instead, I'll add these helpful quotes about mothers and their body parts:

Most mothers are instinctive philosophers.  --Harriet Beecher Stowe

Women who miscalculate are called mothers.  --Abigail Van Buren

It is quite surprising how many children survive in spite of their mothers. --Norman Douglas

My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch.  --Jack Nicholson

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.  --Mark Twain

It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge. --Phyllis Diller

Yes, mother.  I can see you are flawed.  You have not hidden it.  That is your greatest gift to me. --Alice Walker

I scrolled through about seven zillion quotes about mothers to come up with this list of quotes which have some relationship to my own reality, and which counteract the whole "mothers are perfect angels" drivel that fills the Internets this time of year.  Most of the quotes were gushy and overstated, like a Helen Steiner Rice poem multiplied by six Jewish proverbs.  I think we should appreciate and honor our mothers in ways that acknowledge their imperfect humanity as well as the parts of motherhood that they got right.  If Jeannette Walls can do this, so can I.

My mother was and is far from perfect.  But now that I'm a far-from-perfect mother myself, I have a lot more appreciation for her, and I see her sacrifices more clearly.  In my mind I can see her sitting on the sidelines of my field hockey games, wearing cotton pedal-pushers and white Keds, her blue hair glinting in the sun.  I know now that she probably had other things she'd rather be doing on a weekday afternoon other than getting her butt damp and grass-stained while I cleated around a muddy field in a kilt chasing a white ball with a stick. 

But she showed up, and when my friends said, "Hey, look at that lady over there with blue hair!", I was happy to say, "Yeah.  That's my mom.  She comes to all my games."


Meg said...

That story is a perfect tribute. And I love the Alice Walker quote.

E. Peevie said...

Thanks, Meg.

jeanie said...

"But she showed up," E. Peevie

Perhaps this IS the secret of being a good mom, well at least it helps.

Happy Mother's Day, E. Peevie, Whatever kind of mother you are.....It ain't nothin.

Missy said...

Your mom had blue hair, or was this someone else's mom? If so, I think that is awesome. I have always wanted blue, well, in my hair. Like superwoman!

Love the Nicolson quote.

And the one by Abigail something. Fantastic!

E. Peevie said...

Yes, my mom had blue hair. It was a thing with housewives back then.

And also: "Abigail something"??? You are joshing, right?

Anna D. said...

I so appreciate your voice & perspective- mother's day can come across so sugary and smarmy everywhere you look. And from someone who dreads it just a little, it's encouraging to hear that someone else isn't exactly thrilled with the whole shebang, either(for a variety of reasons).

E. Peevie said...

AD--Yeah, I get the dreading. Thanks for the props.

J said...

love this post! and the quotes.

just to clarify, though, the line "everybody needs a bosom for a pillow" is by the band "corner shop", i believe :)

i have to say that i have lots of bittersweet memories of mother's day. my siblings and i really enjoyed going over the top with treats and cards and lunches with mom to celebrate her awesomeness, especially after dad died. it was sort of like an acceptable way to over indulge and lavish her with love. not like we shouldn't do that every day, but i liked to do it on mother's day. last spring it was mother's day that inspired us to get my photographer friend out to the homestead to take new family photos (which ended up being taken at the hospital) as a gift for my mom, and Lord, how thankful i am to have those photos now.
my mom was not perfect, and neither were we perfect children. but now i'm sort of grateful for a day when i get to remember her as perfect if i so choose. i'll take it. suckiness and all.

E. Peevie said...

J--Oh, crap. Thanks for correcting my Cornershop mistake, which I have changed in the post.