Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today was a good day to celebrate Mother's Day and I hope my wife felt appreciated.  She's a good mother.  I got her a bouquet of pink roses last night, even though roses remind me of funerals and death.  We enjoyed a cup of coffee together this morning and watched Monika, our youngest daughter, play soccer around noon.  My wife manages the team.  Later in the afternoon we went to dinner at a local restaurant and saw Iron Man 2.  It was good family time.

The Norwegian poet Edvard Walgreen Ødegård once waxed eloquently on this special day: "Motherhood is like a tree that keeps giving, its fruit the bounty of love."  Ironically, Ødegård's mother was a whore who "collaborated" with the Nazis in the brothels of Oslo.  "Quisling's little bitch," they used to call her.  The community shunned her after the war and little Eddie had to live with this shame.

Perhaps a better portrait of motherhood comes from the Mayans.  They celebrated Mother's Day by parading the local matriarch through the streets on a palanquin as the people tossed garlands of flowers wrapped in tortillas.  It was a festive day, marred only by one gruesome ritual that Mexican archeologists discovered to their horror in the 1950s.  Deep in the jungle not far from Rio Lagartos they chanced upon a stone facing that depicted Mother's Day in all its darkness.  They quickly realized that the Mayans weren't so different from the Aztecs, despite the traditional image that wishful scholars had built up over the previous decades.  Evidently this "peace-loving" civilization would line up children captives from the subjugated peoples along the path; they represented the "naughty ones."  Then, men dressed in jaguar skins symbolizing "maternal wrath" would slit their throats as the matriarch passed by.  The Mayan children on the other side of the road would witness this macabre display and learn a time-honored lesson: always listen to your mother.  In fact, according to the legend, the first "piñata" was an unruly Guatemalan kid who literally got the spanking of his life.  Games, arts and crafts, and desserts would follow soon after this event.