Saturday, May 11, 2013
Happy Mother's Day
In honor of my mother, Mataley Mozelle Webb (Munhall) Rogers, 1917-2003.
I figure we all want to be remembered with the choice of being young and at our "prettiest."
There are plenty of pictures of my mother after she had us kids, when she worked most of her life to put us both in a private school that she believed was the best available, or when she again was a homemaker for the last part of her life. Of course the entire time she worked, she also kept house and was the primary disciplinarian of my sister and myself. (I think my father was the source of muscle when we needed to be spanked, with hairbrush, or maybe once with a belt, but I'm pretty sure he was being directed by my mother.)
I've given a brief biography and more pictures of her HERE when she had her birth anniversary in March.
But to be honest, I must say my mother and I didn't get along. Most of our lives we talked superficially usually about children, recipes, and homes, She believed that children are closer to their grandparents than their own parents, as she was. I don't think she got along well with her mother at all. Since we'd moved far away from my grandparents, I really didn't get to test her theory out after I was 8. She was closer with my younger sister than me, and especially with her granddaughter. Again, geography and the influence of the 60s and 70s, meant that my sons weren't particularly close to her either. I'm afraid I didn't urge them to have any positive relationship either.
My mother (and father) were of a certain religion which meant they were intolerant of some of my own views. They were politically opposite of me in a time when young people were demonstrating against a lot of things, (the war in Viet Nam, Civil Rights, American Indian rights, issues about the environment etc) and I was living in many of the ways that they didn't approve.
I found her very judgmental during my adult life, and not accepting of myself or my children. Our life-long correspondence was often stilted, and she wrote in a kind of shorthand that was sometimes difficult to decipher. She would offer me different amounts of funds in CD's with her as co-signer, but then would dis-own me and remove me from those sources of money. This left me greatly in debt when I'd been counting on those funds to help. I don't actually remember why she disowned me, but it was done many times throughout our bitter disagreements.
But she was my mother. I suddenly realized today that half of what I am is from my father, and half from my mother, at least originally. I guess I've taken that beginning person and changed myself a lot. I owe her my life, my birth, and the nurturing of me for the first couple of decades of my life.
She was a very strong woman. She had been raised by women who were also strong, who definitely were active for women's voting rights, who made their way in a world where their talents were limited to certain areas. I'd say I first learned to believe in women's rights from my mother.
Since I've studied goddesses in the last 20 years, I've found a great ritual that some circles of women hold. We will say our names, then say "the daughter of _____ who was the daughter of ____ who was the daughter of_______." We go back as many generations of mothers and daughters as we know. Some of us say we're the sister of another woman also, or even the mother of our female children. It's a inspiring ritual, as well as an attempt to honor the line of mitochondrial DNA, which is how it can actually be traced genetically. It is also subverts the ancient rites of our patriarchal society whereby women change to their husband's names, where genealogical trees follow the male ancestors, and where a child takes the father's name.
I'm glad that my sister returned to her grandmother's maiden name when she decided to change her name. I'm glad that I returned to my own maiden name later in my life after having been divorced. We are more of our own persons, for whatever reason that might have motivated us.
I salute my mother, this year especially on Mother's Day.