Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all mother figures out there–biological and adoptive moms; teachers/counselors; fur-baby-moms (me!); and anyone who’s ever loved someone in a nurturing way.

I’d like to wish a special Mother’s Day to my own mom. I’m blessed to have such a strong, loving, kind role model in my life, let alone to call her my mother. She’s always taught my sister and me that we should reach for our dreams and determine our own lives, never letting someone or something else hold us back. More than anyone else, she’s taught me how to treat others with kindness, even if it’s difficult. (Please read this poem for one of my defining memories with my mother from childhood.) Over the years, my mom has never stopped being my mother, but now I’m lucky to call her my friend, too.

Here are a couple of pictures from about a month ago, when my mom and I went to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show together. Gardening is something we’ve dabbled with (her, much more than me!) together since I was little. We had so much fun learning about pollination and edible gardens, but what was most fun was the time we spent together. 🙂 ❤

I am also blessed to be a mom to this precious baby:

Cuddle time with Oreo ❤

and this one in Heaven:

Smooches with Chad ❤

Our Mother’s Day this year was pretty laid-back. My mom is an AMAZING cook, but today, she got a break from the kitchen, as the rest of us pitched in for meals. 🙂 We enjoyed spending time together; giving cards and gifts; and watching some Game of Thrones. Jennifer and I have a pedicure booked for our mom next week, when salons will be a bit less crazy, hopefully. 😉

Also, something I’ve been aware of this year especially is that this can be a hard holiday for some people. A radio station posted this on Facebook, and I think it expresses sympathy and comfort perfectly:

And finally, to end this on an upbeat note…Buzzfeed posted this excellent list of “19 Badass Literary Mothers Who Need to be Celebrated.” Well, the title pretty much sums it up–and I must say, I agree with as much of the list as I’m familiar with–and like yesterday’s list, it’s added more to my ever-growing “To Be Read” list. 🙂 Molly Weasley of Harry Potter and Catelyn Stark of Game of Thrones top the list–check it out!

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Warming Up, Mom’s Birthday, & Top Ten: New Year’s Resolutions from Fictional Characters

Good evening, dear readers! I’m happy to report the temperature has been rising slowly, since my last post. Today, it reached a warm 16° F, which unleashed a carefree zeal in many drivers, to which my coworker commented, “It’s still below freezing, people…you’re still driving on ice.” Well, she was mostly right, except that sometimes, it was more spinning than driving. Luckily, I had my fabulous chauffeur driving me again, so my commute was carefree and chatty, even if he wasn’t. 😉

Tonight was my mom’s birthday–happy birthday, Mom! ❤ We celebrated with Lou Malnati’s deep dish veggie pizza (YUM) and tuxedo cake from Costco (DOUBLE YUM). We are extending the birthday celebration because we still don’t have her gifts yet (it is the curse of a birthday close to the holidays, as I suffer myself–although not as badly as her). We did give her cards tonight, though. After a full day of writing and editing, I really let loose with being verbose, to the extent that she was reading the outside of the card while I was still finishing the novella within:

Dear readers, can you believe it’s already been one week since the calendar page flipped over to 2013? Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions (or are you reconsidering the ones you did make)? I’m still forming mine–something about cleaning my room and office, as well as finishing writing a book or two. 😉
If resolutions like these seem too humdrum to you, how about those of our favorite epic literary characters? Barnes & Noble put together a clever list that some popular literary characters might have made in our modern society. Perhaps these will give you some ideas of your own. 😉

11 Fictional Characters’ New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by  × January 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm

New Year's champagne cork

It’s 2014! (Thankfully Aeon the aging time vulture didn’t kidnap the baby New Year.) As the light of the dawning new year hit your holidazed face, you might have been invigorated enough to make a few resolutions, varying in the degree to which you mean to keep them.

And you’re not alone! We’re all in the same boat, even your favorite fictional characters. We surveyed some literary titans, and here are a few of their goals for the bright, shiny new year:

Narrator (The Tell-Tale Heart)
“Find lodgings nearer to that yoga studio. More deep-breathing exercises. I must, I must!”

Dr. John Watson (The Complete Sherlock Holmes)
“Get that blasted leg wound sorted. Or was it a shoulder ailment? Bugger, I can’t remember. Holmes!”

Robert Baratheon (A Game of Thrones)
“Lose that pesky 10 pounds…bobbing about on Cersei’s shoulders. HA HA HA. You, mummer, bring me more prostitutes and wine! And that turkey leg.”

Thranduil (The Hobbit)
“Invest in home security system improvements.”

Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter)
“Why, find new and inventive ways to mortally imperil my students, of course! Maybe lodging the sword of Gryffindor inside a giant talking spider, perhaps. Oh yes, that’s very good. Very good indeed, Alby.”

Rose of Sharon Joad-Rivers (The Grapes of Wrath)
“I’m bound to get an idear if I think long enough. Oh, I know, there’s that Groupon for the family therapy I figgered we should put to use. And I reckon I ought to write to that feller from the barn.”

Winnie the Pooh (The House at Pooh Corner)
“I would say I have to agree with Rabbit’s resa…reso…I agree with what Rabbit wants. Extremely. Undoubtably. Did he say he hoped to have more honey? Oh, well then I shall want to add that as well.”

Polonius (Hamlet)
“I plan to make time to get that shabby tapestry cleaned. Such filth, particularly on the back side, not that I would know what that looked like, of course…methinks that’s enough now.”

Rincewind (Discworld)
“No adventures. I resolve to have a nice, quiet, simple year with the Luggage. Absolutely no trifling about in dungeon dimensions or anything of the sort. Did you hear that? Um.”

White Rabbit (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
“Remember, remember, remember all my appointments. Day planner—a day planner, that’s the ticket!”

Holden Caulfield (The Catcher in the Rye)
“Resolutions are for phonies. And so are posthumous manuscript publications. Phonies. But I would like to find out where ducks go in the wintertime.”

What’s your resolution?

Happy Thanksgiving: Ten Things I’m Most Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! The holiday is almost over–and by the time I finish typing this post, it may well be over–but I do hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Like most families, we have certain traditions in our house when it comes to Thanksgiving. Our staples are basic, but as health-nut–foodies, we’ve tweaked “traditional” dishes into our own creations (most of this credit goes to my mom! <3).

Since we were little, our mom invited Jennifer and me into the kitchen to punch down her from-scratch bread dough once it’s risen. And since we were little, Jennifer and I have found the squishy texture hard to resist before it’s ready. It’s become a tradition in and of itself.

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Every year, my sister & I try to squish the dough before it’s ready. Sometimes, our mom stops us in time.

The meal turned out wonderfully, despite Jennifer’s and my mischievous attempts. The menu: turkey, stuffing, white bread, cranberry sauce, pumpkin muffins, cranberry muffins, steamed green beans, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and apple pie–along with pear wine that I picked up in South Haven with Lindsey and Megan. Absolutely delicious, all of it!

Actually, I was lucky enough to enjoy not one, but two Thanksgivings this year.

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The “kids” at Jeremiah’s family’s Thanksgiving, left to right: Jeremiah, me, Sarah, Jessie, and Alex.

I had a lot to be grateful for this year. The Broke and the Bookish suggested a “Top Ten” this week that I think is very appropriate.

Top Ten: Things I’m Grateful For
(in no particular order)

1 & 2: Family and Friends

My former classmate and fellow blogger, Frank, put it best in his “grateful things” post: “friends who are like family and family who are like friends.” I really couldn’t have put it better myself. Both have shaped my life tremendously, in the ways they support and guide me–and I like to think I do the same for them. I’ve been blessed to have wonderful relationships with both family and friends that have evolved over the years, only getting better as our lives become more developed and more full. These categories overlap, too: eight years ago, my friends cooked and brought a full Thanksgiving dinner to the hospital for my family. Even if we don’t have as much room in our schedules to be together now, they take up more room than ever in my heart. ❤ I LOVE YOU ALL!!! ❤ ❤

3: Oreo & Chad

Perhaps our babies belong with #1, but they are a different, more adorable species, so I think they can have their own category. Our babies are guinea pigs–see this poem to read just how much they mean to me. Our babies–both so different and wonderful–have awakened a new type of love in me. Though I can be, um, “motherly” to others I love, there’s nothing like loving a (guinea pig) baby. They have enriched my life on such a deep level; they are the embodiment of love. They have me wrapped around their little paws, if you couldn’t tell.

4: Jeremiah & His Family

Similar to #1 & 2, I’ve known them a long time (eight years!) and my relationship with each of them gets better every day (or for the most part, as romances go! 😉 ). I’m lucky to have such a supportive boyfriend who doesn’t mind when I fall into my fantasy worlds I’m writing where there is no cell phone reception…or food…or blinking. Always supportive, always devoted, always loving. Not to get mushy, but I LOVE YOU Jeremiah. (OK, I’m always mushy…you know this by now, dear readers.) I’m so lucky that this package deal includes his family–I’m close with each one of them. His sisters are among my best friends!

Readers, I’ve RUN OUT OF TIME, so in an uncharacteristic move, the rest of the list will be brief!

5: My Faith & God

He has always been there for me, even when I wasn’t paying as much attention to Him as I should have been. He saved me, in more ways than one, and I think He brought me back to do good–and I think that is through:

6: My Writing & Speaking

Communication is vital to all of our lives, and we often take it for granted until it’s taken away from us. I’m grateful mine has come back in such a way–I have so much to say, and I can’t wait to share it all. Dear readers, you are an integral part of this! Thank you for listening to what I have to say and encouraging me to move onward in this journey. ❤

7: Books

Books have been an integral part of my life, shaping the way I think and the person I want to be. They bridge continents and eras, connecting our human existence and making sense of this crazy thing called life.

8: My Job & Coworkers

I’m so blessed to have a job where I get to do what I love every day: writing, editing, public speaking, and events. I’m doing it all in a place I believe in passionately–Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital–and I get to apply my skills to fundraising and publicity purposes for this wonderful place. The icing on the cake that I did not expect (but should have!) is that I LOVE my coworkers. Several of them have become some of my very best friends.

9: Nature

I’m constantly inspired by nature. It’s as alive and changing as humanity itself, and its unpredictable beauty and nurturing are gifts to us.

10: My Health

Well, this one is pretty self-explanatory, especially with my recent reflective post about my TBI. Against all odds (<5%), I have survived a near-fatal injury, and against even greater odds, I am living a beautiful, healthy life. This is another one we take for granted, and every time I’m having a bad hair day, I remind myself that there was a time when I had no hair on one side of my head–boy, how it grew back with gusto (see frizzy picture above). I am blessed and very grateful. ❤

————————————————————————–

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving too, readers. I am grateful for each and every one of you. ❤

Happy Halloween: Memories of Halloweens Past

Happy Halloween, readers! I hope you’re enjoying the holiday. I’m having a rather spooky experience at the moment: our phone line is going in and out, and since it’s on Halloween, that means it has to have a sinister cause.

But perhaps the scariest thing about this is that I can’t “save draft” as often as I’d like, so I may lose my work…

It’s actually the very first year I haven’t worn a costume, and it fills me with a Victorian Halloween-appropriate melancholy, complete with gloomy fog rolling through the moors of my mind. Our friend (pictured below, as Marilyn) who usually hosts the Halloween party had to be in Canada for much of the month for two separate weddings, one of which she not only participated in, but planned. A more than adequate excuse, I think, but we’ll definitely have to make up for it next year with a *huge* celebration. I still got to be festive at work yesterday, as you can see from my last blog post. Annnnd I’ll still get to be a princess at our gala, and so will my sister, but I am so happy we subvert fairy tale tradition by not being evil to each other. 😉 Oh yes, you can expect a flood of pictures after this weekend.

Speaking of flood of pictures, tonight, you’ll be seeing some snapshots of my childhood. Halloween has always been special to me, my absolute favorite holiday. From a young age, our parents encouraged Jennifer and me dress up and be creative, and we’ve never grown out of that. Halloween has always been about the costumes for us, not the candy (though I wouldn’t turn that down, either).

I believe this was my very first costume ever. My mom sewed this dragon costume for me; I think I was three years old here.

Amanda in dragon costume, pointing

Making some important dragony point, I think. You can see I was assertive, even back then. 😉 (Sorry for the blurriness.)

After that, I believe I was a teddy bear, and then mostly various princesses all the way up until college, when I alternated between strong female characters. (Spoiler alert: next year I am going to be BOTH, as Daenerys from Game of Thrones.)

Our friends group in 2003. Left to right: Megan is a black cat (I think Figaro, from Pinocchio; Jon is a rugby player; Jennifer is Tinkerbell; Lindsey is Marilyn Monroe; Alex is that guy who caught that baseball at a Cubs game, causing the team to lose that year; Kara is Arwen from LOTR; and I'm in the front, as--who else?--Belle. :)

Our friends group in 2003. You may recognize several of these faces from other posts. 😉 Left to right: Megan is a black cat (I think Figaro, from Pinocchio; Jon is a rugby player; Jennifer is Tinkerbell; Lindsey is Marilyn Monroe; Alex is that guy who caught that baseball at a Cubs game, causing the team to lose that year; Kara is Arwen from LOTR; and I’m in the front, as–who else?–Belle. 🙂

Another special tradition to us was reading our favorite stories all together. You might’ve seen this in my previous post about the history of storytelling and reading aloud, but I think this one bears a repeat:

Our dad made a video of himself reading to Jennifer (left) and me so we could play it while he was out of town for business and not miss him as much. <3

Our dad made a video of himself reading to Jennifer (left) and me so we could play it while he was out of town for business and not miss him as much. ❤

My family’s done a lot of organizing this year, and we unearthed our two favorite Halloween books EVER. We reread this one right away when I spotted it.

Image courtesy of Amazon; click to buy.

This is a charming story that opens with this line: “Once, there were two mice who fell in love with the same pumpkin.” While this seemed perfectly normal to me the first time my dad read it to us, 20 years ago, now, it makes me feel like this:

I think I feel this way because I cry at adorable things. I’m so overwhelmed by the cuteness factor that it has to spill out of me in tears. As an adult, I think this is a great book to teach children to cooperate and work together to achieve your goals–that even if you have different goals, you can both get what you want by helping each other. So much of the value is in that bond you form while striving together. In fact, maybe this is a good book for adults, too. 😉

Image courtesy of Amazon; click to buy.

This other Halloween favorite was a lot of fun for us, starting 21 years ago. That button in the upper-right corner was quite exciting, as it let out a sound mimicking the title. My dad would always say the title while the button was playing, too. Jennifer and I would take turns getting the privilege of being the Important Button Pusher, except when we would *accidentally* forget who pushed last. Honestly, I don’t remember much else about this book, and I don’t want to spoil it for myself, because we’re planning to read it tomorrow.

Other story news for tomorrow: you should finally have your Top 10 list I owe you for this week. I’m going to blame the internet flakiness for the delay on it tonight, but the other reason it’s taking so long is because it is so long. People had many favorites, which will make it not a top 10 but rather more, which takes out the requirement of its being posted on Tuesday…right? I promise it’s worth the wait. 😉 Also, I am planning to post a flash fiction horror piece I wrote in grad school–it may go up tomorrow or sometime in the near future. I vote for extending the Halloween celebration past tonight; what do you think? 🙂

Readers, what are some of your favorite Halloween memories? I’d love to hear them.

A Song of Beautiful Sorrow: Kung Liljekonvalje & Chicago a Cappella

A week ago, I had the great experience of going to a Chicago a Cappella concert with my mom. I actually won the tickets on WFMT, my favorite classical music station, for answering a quiz question correctly. 🙂

Listen at work.

Click to listen to WFMT streaming.

I’d never really been to an a cappella concert before, save for the ones my friend Kara’s choir sang in high school. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but if WFMT was promoting it, I knew it would be good. I invited my mom to go with me.

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My mom and I snapped a picture during intermission. We had such a great time! 🙂
I’m looking a little severe in all black, but let’s just say it’s festive for Halloween season. My mom, of course, looks beautiful as always! ❤

We were blown away immediately. The nine voices of the choir blended together so richly, yet you could still hear individual qualities. We were impressed not only with the immaculate quality of every selection, but also the wide range of genres they chose. Since it was their 20th Anniversary celebration, their theme was “best of” from the last 20 years of their performances.

Chicago a cappella

The musical director gave a short explanation before each piece, just enough to get a sense of the song. While all the songs were fantastic in their own ways, there was one in particular that my mom and I really liked. It was the second one they sang, and we were transfixed by it. The song was in Swedish, but the music was haunting, and with the snippet beforehand, we felt the song just as intensely as if we knew all the words. I even had tears in my eyes.

I wanted to share the translation with you, since I found it so beautiful. The lyrics come from a poem, and apparently, the song has become extremely popular in Sweden.

From the Chicago a Cappella program notes:

David Wikander: Kung Liljekonvalje

This song takes place in a miniature world conjured by a poet’s imagination. Gustav Fröding’s finely-wrought poem creates a single beautiful scene, so complete that it feels like it was cut in whole cloth from a Swedish cousin to JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. (In fact, Fröding and Tolkien both used medieval images and style in their works deliberately, so the kinship is an overt one.) The soaring, plaintive melody and exquisite counterpoint are by David Wikander, a Swedish church musician of the early twentieth century. The piece has carved out such a firm place in Swedish hearts that it is virtually considered to be folk music—a high honor indeed for “composed” music [likely, of the 20th century].

I’m going to post the translation first, since I’m assuming most of my readers speak English over Swedish. 😉 The original lyrics will go after it, though. Please do listen to the audio excerpt available on the Chicago a Cappella website, too; I hope they will include the full version on a CD or MP3 soon.

File:Lily of the Valley (2528553648).jpg

Lily of the Valley (photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

King Lily-of-the Valley

King Lily-of-the-Valley from the grove,
King Lily-of-the-Valley is as white as snow,
now the young king mourns
over Princess Lily-of-the-Valley-Maiden.

King Lily-of-the-Valley, he lowers
his sad head so heavy and weak;
and the silver helmet shines
in the pale summer twilight.

Around the bier, a spider weaves
from the “incense place” with floral scent
an incense [that] slowly flows;
the entire forest is full of fragrance.

From the birch’s rocking crown,
from the wind’s waving green house
small songs of sorrow sound;
the entire forest is filled up with whistling.

A message is whispered through the valley
about a king’s sorrow among whispering leaves,
in the wide kingdoms of the forest,
from the capital of the Lilies-of-the-Valley.

Original Swedish lyrics:

Kung Liljekonvalje av dungen,
kung Liljekonvalje är vit som snö,
nu sörjer unga kungen
prinsessan Liljekonvaljemö. 

Kung Liljekonvalje han sänker
sitt sorgsna huvud så tungt och vekt,
och silverhjälmen blänker
i sommarskymningen blekt. 

Kring bårens spindelvävar
från rökelsekaren med blomsterstoft
en virak sakta svävar,
all skogen är full av doft. 

Från björkens gungande krona,
från vindens vaggande gröna hus
små sorgevisor tona,
all skogen är uppfylld av sus. 

Det susar ett bud genom dälden
om kungssorg bland viskande blad,
i skogens vida välden
från liljekonvaljernas huvudstad.

———————————————————

An accurate selfie of how I’m feeling right now.

Aren’t those lyrics so lovely and haunting? And “haunting” fits the seasonal theme so well; I just had to share them. I think this elegy is a sweet example of how love transcends time and life itself. All of the nature symbolism shows us that the princess isn’t really gone; she is everywhere, in everything. Her people, especially her father, keep her memory alive. ❤

Memory of a Moral: “The Ladybug”

Hello all! I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I’ve had a busy one so far, but in a wonderful way: Thursday night was a fundraising party for Marianjoy, at which I gave a speech; yesterday I got to visit Jeremiah and his family; and today (Saturday) I went to a lovely wedding. I will expand on a few of those in greater detail sometime in the near future. 🙂

Cover of "City of Ashes (Mortal Instrumen...

Cover of City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments)

I wanted to share a poem I wrote tonight–and also the interesting way it came to me. While I was driving home from the wedding I went to today, I was listening to an audiobook in the car. I am obsessed with audiobooks; I discovered their magic last summer while plagued with insistent construction on every imaginable route from home to work. (My dad liked to joke that they were following me.) My extreme annoyance at the lengthy commute turned to joy when I realized I could fill the time with books, and I could be safe at the same time by being able to keep my eyes on the road.

The specific audiobook I was listening to today was City of Ashes, the second book in Cassandra Clare’s YA Mortal Instruments series. Clare has a particular talent for creating a compelling plot with gorgeous imagery and characterization. In this book, she was describing a character who, as a child, lit the wings of bugs on fire because he liked to watch them burn. (Thank goodness this was fiction!) It made me think about how morals must be taught and developed, because we are not born with them. It also evoked an immediate flashback to when I was a child–six years old, to be exact. I was shocked at how vivid the memory was, not only because I was so young, but also because my memory in particular has had its challenges. When I acquired the traumatic brain injury, my memory was significantly affected–luckily, this was temporary, and my therapists and family helped me put the pieces back together. However, there are a couple of memories throughout my life that I cannot recall, though friends and family may. Of course, forgetting is a natural part of being human, so it’s very hard to tell if these memories are part of a “big purge” or just normal behavior. I think any injury brings a certain amount of over-aware paranoia with it. As for me, it’s very hard to judge what is “normal,” because my dad never forgets anything, ever, especially if it is embarrassing or incriminating to someone else. 😉

Another interesting exploration of memory is the way in which people remember. Everyone is different, and it goes hand-in-hand with how they think. Through some of my post-TBI cognitive therapy, I learned that I think and remember in words–not surprising, for an author. 😉 Indeed, I can remember specific words very clearly (to many people’s chagrin), but abstract images are not my forté.

That’s why I was surprised by tonight’s vivid flashback from a time when my vocabulary was pretty limited. It was also an epiphany, of sorts, because I realized for the first time that the memory was a moment when I learned a very important lesson from my mom. With Clare’s mention of cruelty to bugs as a child, I recalled the instant that I “grew up” from being apathetic about pain in things I thought I didn’t like.

I was looking for a specific quote from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan about cruelty and innocence in children, and I found this poignant commentary by a fellow blogger, Jenn Krohn (whom I am now following) in her post, “The Cruel Innocence of Children”:

Barrie points out that children are “gay and innocent and heartless,” which is a perfect description of children. Young children (stressing the word young) rarely bite or pull hair because they enjoy inflicting pain on others—they probably don’t understand that they’re hurting their victims—but rather they enjoy the reaction and the attention that it gets them. That is the terrible nature of children’s innocence: they are without empathy.  One of the burdens of growing up is understanding how our actions can harm others.

So true. With the flood of the memory and the realization of what it meant, a poem came to mind during my drive–so intensely that I actually had to pull over and write it down! So, without further ado, I’d like to share the poem I wrote with you. 🙂

“The Ladybug”
By: Amanda K. Fowler

I am six,
and you and I
are sitting
on the concrete blocks
bordering the tree
in front of our house.
My legs swing
while we sit
enjoying the breeze,
at a time
when I
was still shorter
than you.

I notice
next to me,
there is a ladybug
on its back,
legs wriggling
in the air;
I feel
nothing
when I mention it
casually
to you.
It is merely
something to observe,
like a leaf
in the wind.
You tell me
you are going to help it,
and I don’t understand.
It is a Bug,
and I thought
our mission
was to kill them all.
No, you say,
ladybugs
are our friends.
They do not bite
or sting
or eat our plants.
The black-speckled rubies
fly through the air
and get rid of
the mean ones
for us,
and the least we can do
is help one
who has lost her balance,
who will perish
if her legs cannot
find the earth.
This fills me
with sadness,
and I look up
at the summer sky,
wondering
how it would feel
if you knew
that’s the last thing
you’d ever see.

You pick up a leaf
and take my hand.
Together,
we help the ladybug
to right herself.
She flies off,
and though I’ll never
see her again,
I learned from her
that Evil isn’t black-and-white
(or black and red),
and that our enemies
can’t be judged by appearance
or name
but only their actions.

English: Seven-spotted ladybug Deutsch: Sieben...

Seven-spotted ladybug (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Mother’s Day

Hello hello! I’m happy to be back on here to write for you more. My memoir event went extremely well, and I will write a post about that at length very soon. Thank you so much for everyone who supported me with that!

Today is a very special day: Mother’s Day! Am I the only one who ponders the punctuation on that holiday for a long time before writing it out? (Probably.) I actually reasoned in the past that it would be “Mothers’ Day,” since it is a day celebrating all mothers, therefore suggesting the usage of the plural possessive (i.e., the apostrophe outside the “s”). However, today, I thought I’d better double-check that, since I am writing it somewhere ever so important and official as my blog. 😉 This is what I discovered on Wikipedia:

In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and created the Mother’s Day International Association.[8] She specifically noted that “Mother’s” should “be a singular possessive, for each family to honor its mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers of the world.”[9] This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in the law making official the holiday in the United States, by the U.S. Congress in relevant bills,[10][11] and by various U.S. presidents in their proclamations concerning Mother’s Day.[12]

Well, who am I to argue with tradition? I do understand the rationale behind the singular possessive use. So, now that we are all further enlightened, I will tell you about my Mother‘s Day. 🙂

I am so lucky to have such a wonderful mom with whom I can ask or share anything. A lot of my friends called her the “cool mom” while we were growing up, because I could ask her any embarrassing question and she would always give me an unabashed, thorough answer. (There are so many things that seem embarrassing to a young girl, things about her own self, things about the other gender, etc.) My sister and I had a wonderful childhood, and we’re both so proud of our mom, who’s taught us not only how to be a good woman, but how to be a good person. My mom didn’t have a lot while she was growing up, but she had strong dreams, and she studied hard, read many books, got great grades, and made a career for herself. When she met my dad in college, it was pretty much love at first sight, and they got married and started a future together–a future that eventually included Jennifer and me. 🙂 I really admire my parents’ relationship for how much they’ve been through together and how each obstacle only brings them closer together.

I think the evolution of a mother-daughter relationship is fascinating and can be beautiful. Jennifer and I are so lucky in that our mom is still our mom–that is, she will urge us to go to bed if we are up late but have work the next day (ahem), and she is still the very best at getting stains out of clothing, no matter how many times she shows us how–but she is more than just our mom. She is one of our best friends now. We love to hang out with her; she’s so much fun, and she has a great sense of humor–one that she no longer has to keep PG-13. 😉 We will never stop learning from her, but what is so touching is that she now says she learns from us. She, along with the rest of my family, is one of my biggest cheerleaders, always encouraging and inspiring me, even when I may doubt myself. She celebrates my successes more than her own, and she is one of the kindest and most genuine people I know.

Close-up of me, our mom, and Jennifer at the Downton Abbey Tea Event last month

Close-up of me, our mom, and Jennifer at the Downton Abbey Tea Event last month

Although we already celebrated Mother’s Day, we had a nice, quiet day together today. My dad made a big breakfast and dinner, which was really sweet, not to mention delicious. 😉

Mother’s Day has a different meaning to me now, too, that I am a mom (of guinea pigs!), myself. I have been the very blessed mommy of two wonderful guinea pig boys: Chad and Oreo. I have learned so much about unconditional love and parenting from both of them. I know a human baby will bring a totally different set of challenges, but I would guess the love is much the same. I’m sure all of the pet parents out there would agree that there is no other love like the bond you feel as a parent to a darling who will always be dependent on you in some ways–but that does sound a lot like a traditional “child,” now that I think about it. 🙂

Mother's Day Morning Cuddles: Oreo and Me

Mother’s Day Morning Cuddles: Oreo and Me

If you’ve already been following my blog for a bit, you’ll notice my babies have been the subject of several of my posts and poems. In case you missed it, here is a post with a poem I wrote about Chad and Oreo. You can find a few other poems about them in my archives, like this one.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! I am especially grateful for my babies who make me a mom; for my “Marianjoy mom,” Char, who always looks out for me; for my boyfriend’s mom, who gives me great advice; and for my own mom, who has nurtured me all my life and helped shape me into the person I am today. 🙂