In my reflection on the month of May, I, of course, thought about Mother’s Day, but that led me to thinking about the homes that women create and in particular my mother.
My first recollection of my family home was a simple rental that lacked indoor plumbing and had a cistern to pump water into the kitchen. It was definitely limited in essentials especially by today’s standards, but it was adequate for a young, couple in the 1940s, raising two children. I have fond memories of the tree in the front yard that provided us with yellow cherries. I remember the swing our father built for us, and the fun we had sledding down the neighbor’s short hill. We lived there during WWII. Do any of you remember the black outs? We had a stand up radio with a small light. The only time I can recall when there seemed to be a need to be more careful, my father put a blanket over the radio which provided a security measure but the ability to hear the all clear signal. I felt safe and secure. We moved to the house with indoor plumbing and two bedrooms upstairs when I was in third grade. I thought we had moved to heaven. I lived there until I moved to California.
My mother did not grow up in a home as I did. Her mother died at a young age, and my mother spent her formative years in and out of an orphanage. Even with this unstable life, she knew how to construct a house into a home with love, care, protection and acceptance.
When the proverb “waste not, want not” was in vogue, this was followed by many women of her era. An example of wasting nothing was her use of Styrofoam meat trays obtained from the local meat market to make miniature houses that were placed under our Christmas tree. These were only brought out at the holidays. My sister and I have sets which we have shared with our children.
My intent in writing this short reflection is to prompt you into thinking about your early childhood memories of home. In saying home, what comes to mind and what feeling does this create? Sometimes, as in my mother’s upbringing, she might not have had the fond memories as I do, but hopefully, she would have had some happy times. I wish you a happy remembrance in this month of May.
One of my favorite bloggers is Eric Barker who has a best selling book entitled “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.” He is funny, practical and offers excellent, researched advice. His blog “brings you science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life.” I read it regularly and often send his posts to people I know and love. He cites many sources which can be referenced and has sound data to back his claims.
His latest blog is This Is The Morning Ritual That Will Make You Happy: 4 Secrets From Stoicism. Since I have occasionally been accused of being a Stoic, it drew me in right away. He introduces the concept of “Amor Fati,” a Stoic principle which advises to not only accept everything that life brings us, but embrace it, good or bad. Say what? I have to embrace the bad stuff too? After quoting everyone from Epictetus to Nietzsche, and reading it is really about making the best out of everything that happens, he had me hooked. I’ve tried with varying success to live my life this way.
As crones we know that each of us have experienced joy and sorrow and frustration and pain and those “why can’t I live in this moment for the rest of my life” times. It’s called life. A chocolate lover once told me that if she had chocolate chip cookies every day, she wouldn’t really appreciate them. Part of the joy was the baking chocolate dough filling the house with a delicious aroma, the anticipation and then that first bite after they were out of the oven and slightly cooled, still warm and the chocolate still soft and melting, filling her mouth with heaven. If this had happened every day, it would have been mundane and forgettable. But do we really need to experience starvation to appreciate the cookies? Perhaps not, but as I thought about it, I realized how much I’ve learned from my own dark times. Those have been my moments of growth in strength and spirit and moments when I’ve had my eyes opened to the suffering of the world. In retrospect, although painful, perhaps they should have been embraced.
So, as you travel, regardless of the circumstances that surround you, remember the words of another of my favorite philosopher’s, Leonard Cohen:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Nailin’ It, by Ladies Don’t Drum
By Simone La Drumma
Want to have a taste of the drumming experience and the music? Here is a link to the “Ladies Don’t Drum Album” by Simone as well as her website:
Read more about the benefits of drumming:
Getting out of your head and into your body, and coming more fully alive in the moment. Read more about the hidden benefits of drumming.
In Memory – Etta May Wiedeman
Etta May Wiedeman who was born on March 6, 1935 made her transition on May 2, 2018. She was the mother of Susan Horst and grandmother of Tracy Schmidt, both of whom attended Crones Counsel at one time or another. Read her obituary.