Mother’s Day

The photo here is Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day. After campaigning for a national holiday, she soured on it and spend her inheritance campaigning against the commercialization of it. Her criticism is quoted on Wikipedia: “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!”

I did send my mother a printed card this year with a picture of a bald guy with lots of tattoos. Not so far from how I look now (without the tattoos).

I come from a northern Minnesota Catholic family. English, Swedish, and especially Polish on my mother’s side. My mother’s father’s family had been small store owners for at least a couple generations while her mother’s family were Polish farmers. My mother married at seventeen and had seven kids over the next eighteen years.

“How’d a northern Minnesota boy like you end up as a Zen priest?” I was once asked by a Unitarian minister. Today it is clear to me that it was largely my mother’s influence. She often said to me while she was tucking me into bed, “Your father and I will be proud of you even if you become a hobo.”

I can appreciate now how that gave me considerable room to explore this world, accept myself, and provided an important lesson for how to parent my own children. I’m very grateful to her for that.

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