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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Handprints and Footprints

I've had a long and proud affinity for hating Valentine's Day...and I could write a book about my struggle for a card on a certain other Hallmark Holiday. But it had never really occurred to me that Mother's Day is such a loaded holiday, until I saw this quote from a Facebook friend:

Mother's Day is almost here. But not everyone will be happy.

She went on to write an absolutely lovely post about the roles importance of looking beyond DNA to focus on all the women who've "held you, helped you, comforted you, corrected you, guided you, nurtured you, challenged you, believed in you, stood by you, encouraged you, laughed with you, and taught you that truth and faith and kindness count most of all."

It was a beautiful sentiment. But it left me thinking, "Crap. Am I about to have another event to add to my holiday shit list?"

In the following days, one of my dearest friends wrote a poignant message sending peace to all for whom it felt like an emotionally heavy holiday. And I discovered one of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott, hates Mother's Day.

Meanwhile, two of my very best friends and several of my favorite people were celebrating their first Mother's Day as mothers. What a joy for them! Though I never imagined I'd not have children, the path I'm on makes it seem more and more likely...but for me that's not a punishment, it's a tradeoff for the incredible grown-up adventures that come when one is child-free.

I have an aunt and an uncle who never had a kid, I always thought that was so strange because it meant I didn't have any cousins on that side of the family. It has only been in recent years that I've begun to realize there are many different factors that play into not having children. We don't always get everything we want in life, and we all make choices and tradeoffs.

Anyway, the irony of it all hit me as I tackled what was my project for the weekend, putting the finishing decorating touches on my apartment, including this photo collage in my bathroom:
When I was in Peru in 2004 with my friend Neil, I impulsively snapped a photo of my tennis shoes at the end of our hike to overlook Machu Picchu. It was sort of a "I was here" moment. At some point, I decided to turn it into a theme... there was the Great Wall in 2009...
South Africa in 2006, Beirut in 2010, Spain in 2012. (There were a few others that didn't make the cut...and, oddly, I've never managed to get a "foot shot" during my nine trips to Brazil!)
As I hung the photos, I considered the charming "handprint art" with which many of my friends were marking Mother's Day. But instead of handprints...I found myself with a pretty awesome collection of footprints. And that's not such a bad thing!
May we all be at peace with the path we are on, wherever it is taking us. 

1 comment:

Neil said...

LOVE the photos. didn't know you had turned it into a theme. that's great! Need to come back and see your place now that it is all decorated.