Thursday, May 3, 2007

Celebrating Mothers

Even though it was our first issue, and even though it ended up a little smaller than we had originally thought, there were still a few pieces that didn't make the final cut. Here's a look at a handful of "Mothers" through history, penned by Juli Smith, that was intended for the first issue of ArtScene.

Mothers Day. It brings up notions of home cooking and hugs, bandages and talks, scolding and love. A salute to the image of Supermom, a woman who is always attentive, never misses a soccer match, bakes brownies from scratch, keeps the house clean and inviting while cooking gourmet and running a company, the woman who never sleeps, hardly eats and can still fit into the jeans she wore in high school. Or at least that is what we are supposed to believe. A day to celebrate mothers everywhere. To show the women in our lives that the sacrifices they have made are not unnoticed, that there is some thanks for the job they do. One day to give her a break, and tell her that she is special and her work is superb.

The first mothers, the ones who started it all, do they get a fair mention in the whole Mothers Day process? In most religions, most traditions, we were spawned from one mother; the beginning, the Alpha, the first maternal symbol. On one hand there is Eve, meaning living one or life, mother of all mankind – depending on who you talk to; she is the original mother, created by God himself as the perfect parent for man kind. Made from a rib, mother to nations – that’s an awful lot of children. The first to succumb to temptation, the woman who had the nerve to bite the apple – see all mothers are not perfect. Though imagine the stress of having to go out and replenish the earth, could lead a woman to drinking, at that point a little bit of fruit wouldn’t seem quite so bad. Or on the flip side Mother Earth. The birthplace of all things created. The arms which hold us in her grasp when we curl on the green grass. The subject of oh so many bumper stickers, and the feature of neopagan goddess worship, “Gaia”, earth, the symbolic meeting of the witch, the virgin and the crone.

The beginnings, as real or imagined as they may be, are wonderful, but to coin a phrase “what have you done for me lately?” What about the real women who have made our planet just a little better?

Mother Theresa, not really a mother at all, well, not in the whole giving birth sense of the world, though when looking up good mothers, her name is inevitably at the top of the list. Is it because she had a great sense of style, or perhaps an eloquent way of speaking? Or rather is it because of all the time she spent with 3 changes of clothes and a bible changing kids lives one by one? Perhaps it is because everyone could relate to being one of those that she cared for; in her own words, "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." From 1950 at the start of her diocesan congregation which would become the Missionaries of Charity, to her death on September 5, 1997, nine days after her 87th birthday, Mother Theresa was a pioneer for women, mothers and sisters, daughters, wives, a tangible sense of good in a world that can be, at times, lacking that quality. But there is more to good mothering than self sacrifice and world media coverage. Or at least one would hope there is.

There are mothers who have overcome amazing feats: The wife of Feodor Vassilyev from the village of Shuya, who, over the span of 30 years in the 1700’s, gave birth to 69 children during 27 pregnancies. The poor woman produced 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four quadruplets. That has to deserve a medal of some sort, a moment of silence, a vacation in the Bahamas, a concubine for her husband to give the poor woman a little bit of rest. I would hate to think about the poor state of her innards, not to mention her mind. Oh the diapers!

Or what of the great and powerful works of Ms Angelina Jolie? Working on starting her own United Nations, her multi-cultured babies and her sexiest-man-alive partner form the Ultimate Dream. Looks, money, charity, goodwill ambassador, travel, love and good squishy feelings. All this while managing to look like a goddess and speak adoringly about your fantastic sex life. Yes, this woman is so perfect a mother that even Mother Theresa would hate her just a little bit I am sure.

But no matter who you are: soccer mom extrodinairre to world travelling socialite mom to the modern day version of Roseanne Barr, this Mothers Day is for you! Take some time for yourself. Grab a bag of Purdy’s and sit back, you deserve the break. Let someone else run the world, just for the day – God knows you’ll have to clean it up tomorrow.

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