Those are the first words of Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation. It was a call to action, not just to American mothers, but to all women in all nations, to come together to create peace between our countries and to repudiate the wars and violence that were being caused and prosecuted mostly by men.
I know that this day is difficult for many people for many reasons. The word Mother is a difficult word for may people. Mothers can be cruel or absent or distant or controlling. Mothers can feel inadequate, captive, unappreciated (but for one day a year), shamed. Motherhood may be elusive or greatly desired but seemingly unattainable. Beloved mothers may be gone too soon, too soon. My first memory of my own experience of being a mother was the Mothers Day ten years ago when I learned that my first pregnancy was failing.
Today, if this day is difficult and painful for you, I wish you a quiet place away from all the cultural glitz and holler of the day. I wish you healing from difficult or grief-filled memories. I wish you freedom from the expectations that clamor about you. I wish you people in your life who nurture you and who help you discover you how strong you really are. I wish you at least one person in your life who believes in you no matter what, who trusts your inner knowledge and ability to succeed. I wish you opportunities to mentor and care for others. I wish you the fire and power to bring to birth your own ideas and creations, to watch your dreams and projects and plans come into being as surely as any child is born into the world.
1. My mother, whom I would seek out as a friend were she not already my mother, who has been my guide as I find my own way into the land of motherhood, who believed I could do fly and sometimes sort of nudged me off the cliff’s edge a little, who has taught me the importance of firmly speaking truth to power, who has provided a motherly presence for so many people, who showed me how to pay attention and to look at the beauty of the world around me. I love you, Mom!
2. The Motherline:
I am Beth Weaver-Kreider,
daughter of Ruth Slabaugh Weaver,
daughter of Lura Lauver Slabaugh,
daughter of Mary Emma Graybill Lauver,
daughter of Elizabeth Shelley Graybill,
daughter of Lydia Gingrich Shelley,
daughter of Elizabeth Light Gingrich,
daughter of Mary Dohner Light,
daughter of Anna Landis Dohner,
daughter of Fronica Groff Landis,
daughter of Susanna Kendig Orendorf Groff,
daughter of Elsbeth Meili Kundig,
daughter of Anna Barbara Bar Meili,
daughter of Barbara Biedermann Bar (born 1580 in Hausen, Switzerland).
3. All you who have been mentors and muses and fire-lighters and hearth-keepers for me.
4. My own two children (and perhaps also the two who did not come to be) and all they have taught me about who I am in the world, all the joy they bring.
5. Seed. Womb. Birth. Fire. Earth. Source.
May we walk in Beauty!