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Solnit writes: "This is, once again, for all the misfits, the outcasts, the wanderers, the rejects, the people who had to make it for themselves and start from scratch and from scratches, the people who got up from beatings and out from houses of harm, the ones who took the hard road and the long way toward love."

Rebecca Solnit. (photo: David Levene)
Rebecca Solnit. (photo: David Levene)


Mother Is Both a Noun and a Verb.

By Rebecca Solnit, Rebecca Solnit's Facebook Page

13 May 18

 

his is, once again, for all the misfits, the outcasts, the wanderers, the rejects, the people who had to make it for themselves and start from scratch and from scratches, the people who got up from beatings and out from houses of harm, the ones who took the hard road and the long way toward love. On this treacherous day approaching.

Mother is both a noun and a verb. Some people had great mothers but lost them, some had or have mothers who never mothered them or stopped mothering them for some reason, treated them as adversaries or as worthless, and Mother's Day can be a punitive day for all those for whom this is true.

The other half of the question of what there is to celebrate is what mothered and mothers you, how you mother yourself, how you celebrate and recognize what cares for you and takes care of you, and what you care for in return.

I remember once looking at the Pacific Ocean, to which I often reverted in trouble, and thinking "Everything was my mother but my mother." Books were my mother, coastlines, running water and landscapes, trees and the flight of birds, zazen and zendos, quiet and cellos, reading and writing, bookstores and familiar views and routines, the changing evening sky, cooking and baking, walking and discovering, rhythms and blues, friends and interior spaces and all forms of kindness, of which there has been more and more as time goes by.

And of my own mother I wrote, in The Faraway Nearby: Like lawyers, writers seek consistency; they make a case for their point of view; they do so by leaving out some evidence; but let me mention the hundreds of sandwiches my mother made during my elementary school years, the peanut butter sandwiches I ate alone on school benches in the open, throwing the crusts into the air where the seagulls would swoop to catch them before they hit the ground.

When my friends began to have babies and I came to comprehend the heroic labor it takes to keep one alive, the constant exhausting tending of a being who can do nothing and demands everything, I realized that my mother had done all these things for me before I remembered. I was fed; I was washed; I was clothed; I was taught to speak and given a thousand other things, over and over again, hourly, daily, for years. She gave me everything before she gave me nothing.

May you locate the ten thousand mothers that brought you into being and keep you going, no matter who and where you are. May you be the mother of uncounted possibilities and loves.


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+1 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-05-13 20:11
God was fair when it came to Mothers. We each got one.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY.
 
 
+7 # chrisconno 2018-05-13 21:15
Thank you for this. I have wondered often what I did to deserve the cold hearted rejection from my mother not mother. The world i guess becomes our mothers and Solnit helps put this into focus. The clouds of childhood need not be forever overcast.
 
 
+1 # evolver 2018-05-14 09:42
Thanks for your tribute! Poetic!
 
 
+1 # Wise woman 2018-05-14 20:21
Chris - you did nothing to deserve rejection. When mine rejected me and told me I was a mistake, I had the good fortune of having a grandmother around to take away some of the hurt. The rest we live with and thank the Goddess that we never could feel that way about our own. That's our blessing.
 
 
+1 # diamondmarge7 2018-05-15 05:31
Goddess bless you and keep you, for surely you speak word for word for me as well.
She tried asd hard as she could but I think she had no role model for herself.
 

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