This post is in honour of TO MAMA WITH LOVE, an amazing project started by Epic Change. Watch video of the mothers being honoured this year, and please join in the celebration of mothers by creating a 'heartspace', donating to the effort, and spreading the word!
We moved a lot when I was a kid. And many of those moves interrupted my mother's career paths as a hospital administrator, educator, and more. I tend to remember those periods as pretty 'good life' ones for me -- my mom was home all of the time, she cooked and baked tasty treats, took us on local adventures and daily library expeditions, made us clothing and costumes, and helped us make the adjustments to new communities, schools, heartbreaks, and joys. She always did *something*, like starting a small business or getting engaged in a community project with enthusiasm, determination, and infinite creativity.
It was not until I became an adult that I thought about how difficult they must have been for her, those days. Separated, often by an ocean, from family and friends for long periods, raising two children, and always working at something that she hadn't planned to be working on.
But through it all my mother always took joy in stories. One of my most powerful memories is of the year I turned 10. We lived in Ikoyi, Lagos, and I sobbed bitterly on my 10th birthday -- double digits meant OLD, the beginning of the end. My mother did not laugh at me, but she read to me. She read me A WRINKLE IN TIME, and the pleasure that she took in sharing that wonderful story with me was palpable. She really *enjoyed* the story, and the reading. "He *likes* her!" she exclaimed about Calvin, as I, knowing that both glasses and braces were in my near future, found hope in the idea that Meg Murry was on the way to true love -- maybe growing up wouldn't be that horrible after all.
"Tell us about when you were a little girl!" my sister and I would say, over and over, again and again. And she did. Over and over. Again and again. The time a dog chased her all the way home. Her first time eating white sugar, on the plane to the States. Jumping double-dutch with the nuns. Her first date with my father, when he told her that her natural hair was beautiful.
My mother's stories, my mother reading, is an expression of love that will last forever.
Now I'm a mama, and I cherish the privilege of sharing stories. I started this blog back in 2004 when motherhood brought back memories of my mother's creative exploits and my own lifelong interest in being messy, make-y, tinker-y, and crafty. Remembering my mother's indomitable spirit of creativity, and sharing my creative story here drove me to complete my first novel.
I learned so much from my mother, and her mother as well -- oh, they could tell you stories! Life brings joys, heartbreaks, challenges, drudgery...and stories. Now I share them with my daughter, my readers, and continue to be inspired by my mother, her mother, my family and friends, and the stories of mamas everywhere and the extraordinary work they do every day. This Mother's Day, I'd like to honour my mother by supporting the work of mamas who are changing the world through To Mama With Love. Will you join me? I will be donating $50 through my heartspace, and will donate up to $50 more for every comment on this post ($1 per comment). Share the stories of these amazing women and enter for a chance to win a copy of 8th Grade Superzero. Post links to To Mama With Love on Twitter, Facebook, your site or blog, and let me know about it in the comments. One winner will be randomly selected from the comments on May 8th 2011, by my daughter. Who has stories of her own to share.
Some wonderful writers, mothers, and advocates will be joining me in this special celebration all week! These extraordinary women and friends write directly from their hearts to ours:
Sayantani DasGupta, (HER OWN MEDICINE, STORIES OF ILLNESS AND HEALING, THE DEMON SLAYER AND OTHER STORIES, KIRU'S WEDNESDAY); Audrey Vernick (IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN?, SHE LOVED BASEBALL, TEACH YOUR BUFFALO TO PLAY DRUMS, WATER BALLOON, BROTHERS AT BAT, BARK & TIM); Kelly Starling-Lyons (ONE MILLION MEN and ME and NEATE: EDDIE'S ORDEAL); Sheela Chari (VANISHED); and Jennifer Cervantes (TORTILLA SUN).