Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Toast for Mothers

Our mothers are as varied and complex as espresso
According to an interesting article in The Economist, scientists reckon there are over 1,200 various chemical substances that reside inside a single-roasted coffee bean. Espresso, of all coffee preparations, releases more of these chemicals than any other preparation. So, too, does motherhood involve more of the human senses than any other act or bond.

For a variety of reasons, we are most attached to our mothers, more so than our fathers, siblings, or relatives. Mothers always seem near, even when they are not physically nearby. Mothers always seem to "know", even when they don't understand what might really be going on. Mothers always seem to care, even when it is hard to do so on our behalf. In some way, these and other factors contribute to the attachment that makes mothers top of the family heap.

Thanks to Anna Jarvis, Mother's Day is now a thoroughly recognized holiday in the US and beyond, although the roots of celebrating and commemorating motherhood run much deeper than the annual second Sunday of May that officiates the event. Motherhood has been recognized as vital to national interests and statehood going back to the Greeks, and Augustus enacted fairly thorough ordinances centered around motherhood to encourage marriage and procreation to maintain the power of the Roman Empire. 

That's all to say that motherhood is important and heady stuff, and we should be grateful for our mothers, what they do, and how important they are to our lives. Which brings me back from an afternoon pause with a tasty espresso and a daydream about Ancient Rome, to raise a toast for Mothers. Here's to celebrating my wife (mothering a furry friend counts!), my own mother, and all those family and friends who are mothers on this special day.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Birthday Wishes

A wonderful birthday surprise included weekend time
with UCLA nieces and nephews!
The wonders of social media sometimes outweigh the burdens of interconnected living. Birthdays are a good example. Before Facebook, birthdays were an affair requiring planning to gather friends and to share the moment. For those who have lived in different parts of the world and have friends scattered about, this is difficult to accomplish. 

Perhaps my reflection is intensified by the fact that my wife is also traveling for business on this day, but I don't feel entirely alone. Starting early in the morning, birthday wishes started to arrive - first from Asia, then Europe, then rolling into the US (east coast, central time, west coast). By noontime here in DC, I had a collection of messages from friends near and far, close and distant, that comprised my own journey through family, school, work, and interests. The wonder comes from reflecting on the fact that all these people and all the memories they represent  comprise a life that is always present and always ready to take off if you let it.

For these birthday wishes and for these memories, I am grateful. I pray for the opportunity to follow this beautiful journey and carry many more connections to even greater bounties for many years to come.