This month I turn one as a mother. My daughter, consequently, is also turning one—a first birthday I am excitedly planning. Specifically, I want to make Hazel a rainbow cake with lots of colored layers and white frosting. I’m not even sure she’ll be able to eat the cake (avoiding lots of sugar for a one-year-old and all), but among those family pictures I treasure, my mother held a cake for her little ones. I want to be like my mother. I am going to make a cake.
But planning my daughter’s party, I realized that I am also going to have a kind of birth-day anniversary. Other moms have told me that it takes a year to really process the experience of giving birth. While I did consider the significance of my “birthing community,” in a blog last fall, I realized a couple of weeks ago that I wasn’t done understanding what I, what mothers, and what life givers of all kinds go through to bring life into the world. Continue reading “Turning One by Sara Frykenberg”
You’d think after all these years I would know, right? I would be sure. I could walk comfortably, touting that I am certain, as so many others my age do. The reality is however, I still don’t know. I am very unsure. I am incredibly uncertain.
At 50, I think I have more questions now than ever before. Many times I have moments of panic that challenge what I feel deeply and truly. Moments that challenge my faith and my very understanding of my own existence. Moments where I lose faith in humanity, in my friends, in my family, and in myself.
Yet, maybe that is where the wisdom is. Because if I pretended to never be afraid or uncertain, I would never challenge what I think I know. I would sit, uncomfortably, in unauthentic belief. What a pity that would be.
You will be reading this Feminism and Religion the day before I turn sixty. For the past two decades I have had parties the night before I leave a decade—and “crossed over” at midnight, with the requisite amount of candles—forty, fifty and now sixty. I have everyone under the decade (in this case 60) on one side and those 60 and over on the other side and I will cross from my 50s to my 60s. And so…I will also be doing that this year, the evening on which you read this. I will be crossing from one decade to the next.
I want to own all of the years of my life as deeply as possible.
And yet…there is and continues to grow now –“a bucket list.”
A bucket list seems to be analogous to the idea of heaven or “the end times.”
I am Cynthia, daughter of Pauline, daughter of Ellen, daughter of Mary. I first spoke this litany of names at a retreat given by Carol Christ. As we entered the chapel, each woman was given a rose to place in the center of the circle after she recited her own mother line. Simple but incredibly powerful, a beautiful reminder of our matriarchal inheritance.
The reflection of this ritual is all the more rich because today is my birthday. Especially since my mother’s death in 1990, March 9 is a day of reflection on our complicated mother-daughter relationship with all its highs and lows that marked our lives. But what I really miss from her are the stories told around the kitchen table, starting with the uniqueness of each of our births. With each one, the hope and expectation of both parents was for a daughter. Not until the fourth birth did their plea to St. Jude, patron saint of lost causes (and our family’s most depended on saint), bring forth their highly anticipated girl. Continue reading “The Naming of Our Mother-Lines by Cynthia Garrity-Bond”
I love birthdays. Maybe it’s partly because I’m a twin, so my parents always wanted to make sure that each of us felt adequately celebrated. For whatever reason, they’ve always been a big deal – your special day in the whole year, where you get to choose what’s for dinner and everyone is extra nice to you. So of course I’ve had even more fun now that I have kids of my own to celebrate. I love making crazy cakes and experimenting with fun party themes; and bring on the singing! In our family, the traditional one verse birthday song was nowhere near celebratory enough – we added to it until it felt sufficiently festive, so ours goes on for a good five minutes. Continue reading “What Do Kids’ Birthday Parties Actually Celebrate? Alternatives for Raising the Next Generation by Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee”