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Mother's Day

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I'm reflecting this day on the uniqueness of Motherhood and on the thought that more than anything else, Mother's Day celebrates the inequality of the sexes. It's true, despite all the discussion about equality over the last 100 years, and I suspect since the beginning of time, men and women are not and never will be equal as in interchangeable. Actually, in these enlightened times, perhaps it would be more correct to say masculinity and femininity are not equal. Complementary would be a better word to use. And rather than pushing equality of sexes, supporting the idea of equal opportunity for all would be better. I could make copious lists of the sexual differences, but I avoid the temptation. We are all aware of what they are.

While I sit here composing this post, Kathy is tending to her many houseplants, giving them water and checking their well-being. It hasn't been a long time since we finished breakfast and I drained the last cup from the coffeepot. I made the coffee early this morning and could have cooked breakfast, but I deferred that chore to Kathy while I went out to pick the asparagus. She cooked our springtime version of Migas, Mexican scrambled eggs: tortilla strips, cheese, Egg Beaters, chopped ham, asparagus, and onions garnished with a chopped Roma tomato and drops of Sriracha sauce.

After watering the houseplants, Kathy will do the kitchen clean-up and then go next door to deliver a Mother's Day present to her mother. Kathy and her sister will cook a family lunch planned for one o'clock. All while I sit here finishing this post. Later, when the morning dew has dried from the grass, I will do a bit of mowing.

Mornings weren't always this easy. I recently restored a scanned copy of a photograph taken 100 years ago in 1911. The photo is a picture of my grandmother and her three oldest children.
MaggieMayandChildrenc1911
My mother is the little girl on the left. The photographer is unknown, but it could easily have been my grandmother's brother who was an itinerant professional photographer.

I've always enjoyed the quiet composure and elegance of this picture, but thanks to a cousin, I was recently made aware of another aspect. My first cousin, a mother herself, described the work involved in bringing three young children and one adult to this state of 1911 elegance. My grandparents weren't rich, perhaps what we would call middle class; I doubt whether grandmother had any domestic help. Consider the hand-stitched clothes, brightly hand-washed, hand-starched, hung to dry on an outside clothesline, then brought in to the kitchen and hand-pressed using stove-heated irons. Grandmother would have done the hair, using hair curlers for the girls and a last minute wet-down and combing for the baby boy. She would have done all that while deftly managing her own appearance.

Ah, those were the good old days.
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