Okay. I hate that the complicated, intense emotions surrounding motherhood have been co-opted by corporations on the principle that every occasion can be leveraged to flog stuff. Surely there’s a way to celebrate Mother’s Day without diminishing it to a jackpot for Hallmark? Well, trust libraries to figure out an answer. Actually, I believe libraries are the answer (to just about everything). So: when my local library marked Mother’s Day by inviting kids to plant a flower for their moms in their community garden, we joined in gladly.
The flower just above the trowel was planted by my son FOR ME.
Some eager young planters with their moms. I’m the one back in the right in the blue T-shirt and ill-fitting green pants, busily eating a muffin. Because librarians understand that you can’t survive motherhood without caffeine and sugar —>
Coffee and eats were provided by local businesses, as were the plants. The library staff came prepared with a bucket of soapy water for washing little muddy hands, paper towels to dry off and even Toy Story bandages for those yet to develop fine motor skills. And when we finished planting our flower, we went in for storytime, where my son learnt about visual disabilities and treating differently-abled people with respect.
This is why we need libraries–to reaffirm the importance of civility and restraint and generosity, to demonstrate to impressionable young minds that the good things in life aren’t the most expensive, and to understand the value of community. And for a new mother, libraries are safe spaces, they are panic rooms, they are sanctuaries. When I moved to my current city, my son was a year old, and I didn’t know a single person; the first friends I made were at library storytimes with other neophyte moms. And my son turned five last week, and he made me a card and a jewelry box and a necklace in candy colors for Mother’s Day, and then we celebrated some more at the library. If I haven’t said it often enough to librarians in my past and present: Thank you. You are all awesome.
(All pictures courtesy Caitlin Fralick of the Westdale library.)