Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Living away from my family, holidays are always tough. I try to get back as much as possible. Academics are underpaid and overextended most of the time, and we have limited resources. None of that takes away the guilt of not being there physically, especially when you are holed up grading hand-written, all-essay final exams (oh, how my students enjoy those), but I am no less grateful for what Mother’s Day represents.

We forget, or more appropriately are purposely never taught anymore, about certain aspects of this country’s history, such as the fact the person who wrote what would become the Pledge of Allegiance was a socialist (and whose original version did not contain the controversial religious reference ‘under God’ until the 1950s), that the real Labor Day, May 1, was an effort by unions worldwide to commemorate a massacre of US workers, and that the women who organized to create a Mother’s Day were feminists and anti-war activists.

I was very fortunate in that my parents were mindful of this history. Both mom and dad played huge roles in my life, imparting a piece of them and teaching me about the universality of the struggle for the human condition. I can never repay all the valuable lessons and advise they have given me, except to live the example that they set.

To the person who helped instill in me the values I have today, including respect for my fellow species, and life in general, particularly the half who put us on this earth and struggle every day in a world run by those in the business of making us forget the real origins and meaning of our holidays, Happy Mother’s Day, momma.

PS: Pardon the Christmas tree. Apparently, it was a vital family member and necessary part of the portrait, as was the cheesy late 1970s wallpaper-mural and that god-awful bowl haircut (another product of cheesy late ‘70s) and the joking bug-eyed look of yours truly--in fact, everything and everyone is out of place and not worth looking at, except my beloved mom, of course.

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