Happy No-Guilt, No-Mom Mother’s Day


For all of you who, like the gringa, did not call up dear old mom to say, “Happy Mother’s Day,” don’t feel guilty. I don’t. And here’s why.

A mother is the first person a child loves and trusts. A child enters the relationship completely inexperienced. It is up to the grown-up in the relationship, the mother, to do the right thing. If a mom doesn’t get it right, just ask a psychoanalyst how severe the consequences could be. After all, some of the most violent and dangerous criminals in the world have “mommy issues”.

The gringa no longer has mommy issues. That’s because the gringa recognized (far too late in life) that mommy was poison and said a final good-bye. It’s not just that the gringa had been betrayed, that I could have forgiven. I have never expected any person I have a relationship with to be perfect. I’m not perfect. I do, however, expect them to respect certain boundaries. Step across boundaries and lives can be destroyed. Not just the gringa’s but also the lives of my children and husband. Cross that line and you are gone forever. And the gringa will feel no guilt.

If you, like the gringa, loved and trusted your mother for years, tenderly overlooking her flaws as only a devoted child can, and then discovered that she would destroy the lives of your loved ones or yourself and carry no remorse in her heart for it, feel absolutely no guilt about having a no-mother Mother’s Day.

In fact, don’t be quiet about observing a No-Guilt, No-Mom Mother’s Day. I promise you that there are many others, just like you, who are suffering in a shamefaced silence. They shouldn’t be. Your mother’s decisions are not your fault. Before she was a mother she was just a regular old person. If she were not your mother, just some neighbor or random person on the street, those same behaviors that have driven you away guiltily would equally drive you away guilt-free. Don’t feel guilt because you saved your life by abandoning a relationship simply because of biological connection.

Daughters and sons are people, too. A biological connection does not demand that we celebrate the one person we should have been able to trust for our entire lives who, instead, became hellbent on destroying us one way or another. Just as a man can be only a sperm donor, walking away from a child and deserving none of the perks and honors of fatherhood, the same can be said for bad moms. Being an egg donor does not entitle you to ruin my life forever, hence ruining the lives of my husband, children and grandchildren as well.

Celebrate, instead, all of you with self-imposed orphan status, your own courage to pursue a life of happiness, enriched with healthy relationships that are secure from outsider tampering. Celebrate your courage to do this despite the social stigma and criticism you will receive for not honoring the woman who “gave you life”. Go to brunch. If you are a mom yourself, celebrate yourself twice. Hold your head high. Have the best, damn No-Guilt, No-Mom Mother’s Day ever. Cheers from the gringa.

Poor Mary, Tired To Death


A Winston Churchill quote is one of the greatest sources of inspiration for the gringa when it comes to historical research:

“History is written by the victors.”

 And the funniest thing about the truth of this quote is that Winston Churchill, whom a World War II victory would not have been possible without, did not even originate this quote, yet he always gets the glory. Perhaps it is because he is a victor!

With that in mind, the gringa would like to look at some annals of history comparing the words of the victorious with the words of the vanquished.  As an American, I will begin with my own country’s origins, the arrival of Europeans upon the soil of North America. What is the perspective of American history as told by traditional American historians compared to what is preserved by the indigenous people these European invaders eventually overpowered? Of course the stories vastly differ. But there were more people vanquished by the white men who arrived on the Atlantic shores of modern day Pennsylvania in the 16 & 1700s. There were also women, considered chattel and property. They, too, tell a different history of America than is traditionally recounted by the pre-dominantly white male historian.

Mary Cooper (1714-1778)

At the ripe, old age of 54 Mary Cooper began her diary, re-telling the events of being married to a Long Island farmer. Her personal record spans the years of 1768-1773, ending five years before her death. Poor Mary died childless, all of her 6 children passing on long before her: 2 died in infancy, 2 as young children, and 2 died in adulthood. Her tale is a story of struggle, tragedy and perseverance of a new life in a foreign and hostile land. Was it really worth the sacrifice to be part of a colonial invasion, laying claim to land that belonged to others? Would it have been more wise to remain within the confines of the existing British empire rather than seek to expand it at the expense of indigenous peoples, scratching out a meager existence in an undeveloped country? Dear reader, you read Mary’s words and decide for yourself.

On November 17, a Thursday in 1768, Mary notes how tired she is from a day of cooking and washing dishes. The gringa finds this sad. Women and men alike often consider cooking a joy, even a hobby. Back then, for poor Mary, it was hard labor. Washing a day’s worth of dishes was a task of hard labor as well.

The colonists are almost always depicted as pious Christian folk. We are regaled with stories of church gatherings. Their fervent religious beliefs even inspired the notorious Salem witch trials where young women and old crones were tortured and murdered for superstitious reasons. Yet Mary recounts a Sabbath day in November as being anything but a religious observance of the day of rest. She claimed that amidst a raging rain and snowstorm that she had not a single minute of rest. Keeping her home dry and warm was demanding work.

About one month later, two days in a row leading right up to Christmas Eve, poor Mary was quite miserable. Cleaning house as the northwest wind blew snow all day long made her “tired almost to death”. Christmas Eve, traditionally thought to be a time of gay celebration, also had Mary “tired almost to death”. Why? Because she had been drying and ironing clothes from sun up to sun down. The gringa hates to iron. I don’t purchase a single stitch of clothing if it has to be ironed or sent to the dry cleaners. The gringa believes that Spandex is the single greatest invention on this darn planet. I would have been one of the worst dressed colonists. That’s for darn sure. Poor, poor Mary. What an awful holiday memory.

But maybe Mary enjoys entertaining guests. The gringa knows many women who jump at the chance of being the hostess with the mostest. Maybe having company will cheer up poor, dear Mary.

Let’s see, January 7, 1769… it’s a Saturday! Perfect day for company, right? Wrong. Poor, poor Mary records that she is “tired almost to death” from waiting on her visitors. What about Christian hospitality? Mary’s spirit is a little lacking in such feelings because her feet ached as if her bones had been “laid bare”. Egad! Poor soul! Mary claimed she had no rest at all throughout the week. The gringa’s guess is that it must take that long to prepare for a single afternoon of company.

Dear readers, I believe I would have become a hermit or an eccentric old woman to keep company at bay rather than suffer the likes of what poor Mary endured! All the extra work to prepare for guests meant that she didn’t even have time to take care of cleaning and ironing her own clothes! What a horror! Throw a party and then not have a single thing to wear the following week! Who knew?! Poor Mary couldn’t believe there was possibly a single person who had such a miserable life as her own… “Did ever poore creature [have su]ch a life before.”

On February 12, a day the gringa would look forward to with romance only 2 days away, poor Mary was miserable again. So miserable and on the Sabbath as well. Once again, no rest on the Sabbath for Mary. She pens, “I hoped for some rest but am forst to get dinner and slave hard all day long”.

A week later, on the next Sabbath, the gringa’s insight into Mary takes a dark turn. Perhaps Mary’s life is not really all that bad. Maybe the problem is with Mary, or at least her religion. The gringa thinks Mary lives in perpetual stress due to the “fear of God” nature of her religion and the demands she believes it makes of her. Consider her words:

“I went to the Newlig[ht] meten with greate delight and offer[ed] my self to be a member with them. [They] seemed to be very glad but I was sudingly seased with a great horr[or] and darkeness. E[ven] think darkeness as migh[t] be felt. O, my God, why has thou forsaken me… I came home before the worship began, most distrest.”

Things weren’t any better for Mary the next day. She writes that she is still “in greate darkness still”. The following Sabbath she was still too troubled to attend her religious meeting. Her emotional and religious crisis stretches on into March.

On the 12th of that month she wrote that she was trying to get her clothes ready to attend the meeting despite the fact that she felt “as much distress as my heart can hold.” Two people came to visit her and she recorded that “I am forced to get diner and cannot go to metan atall. Alas, how unhappy and meresabel I am. I feele banished from God and all good.”

The gringa just feels for poor, poor Mary. I remember feeling miserable. It was called an unhappy marriage. The gringa just packed up and ran away from home. As the gringa reads Mary’s words of suffering my mind is screaming, “Run away, Mary! Run away!” But, back then, where would she go? How would she survive?

In April the gringa finds out what happens to naughty women of Mary’s time. Friday, Mary has some visitors. One of her guests is a woman named Tabthea. Mary writes that Tabthea quarrels with “our peopel”  and “Semon Cooper turned her out of doors and threw her over the fence”. The gringa thinks, “What in the world was wrong with those people?” I mean, the history I was taught was all about the generosity and goodness of the early American colonists, their goodness related to their religious beliefs. But here you have a woman who argues a point and then a man tosses her, not just out of the house, but OVER A FENCE! Outrageous!

Throughout April and May, a time when the gringa would be celebrating the arrival of Spring, poor Mary talks over and over again about her distress. It is all related to how much trouble she has with the labor demands of keeping her clothes cleaned and ironed. Things got so bad that on a Saturday, trying to prepare for the Sabbath, she records that she is simply “dirty and distressed as ever”. By the time Sabbath arrives there are “No cloths irond” and she is simply “freted and tired almost to death”.  The next week was no better. Poor Mary had “Much hard worke, dirty and distrest.” She later receives a lady guest who is having problems with her sons. Mary’s perspective is that “We seeme to have little or no sence of any thing but our troubels.” It seems Mary’s depression was the common plight of the female American colonist.

July 13, 1769 is an anniversary of sorts for Mary. It marks the 40th year since she married and came to America with her husband. And how does Mary feel about this? Yes, the dear readers have guessed it, morose, little Mary is not reflecting with gladness… “here have I seene little els but harde labour and sorrow, crosses of every kind. I think in every repect the state of my affairs is more then forty times worse then when I came here first, except that I am nearer the desierered haven.”

The gringa thinks that it’s safe to say that American historians have romanticized a history that is anything but romantic. The colonists could have done themselves a favor, as well as the indigenous people they ended up massacring, by just staying home across the pond!  And that’s enough of poor Mary for now! The gringa is thoroughly depressed and needs a walk in the park because I’m darn sure not doing any laundry anytime soon!

 

Source: nationalhumanitiescenter.org

Image Credit: roleofwomenincolonialtimes.weebly.com

 

 

 

 

 

Read With The Gringa “Who’s Sorry Now”, Chapt. 12’s Conclusion


We finish another chapter together from “The Meanest Doll In The World” by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin. Just how much trouble could Mean Mimi cause for Annabelle’s family?

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Space Flight & Fortune Cookies


When I was a young girl Six Flags was the big event once a year. The gringa was a country girl from a small town. I attended a tiny, rural school where the same 20 or so classmates I had were together every year from childhood through our teen years. A single building housed the classrooms for every grade, kindergarten through 12th grade. Once kids entered the 6th grade, officially “Junior High”, you felt as if you had hit the big time. That was the year you got included on the annual school trip to Six Flags, the biggest theme park in our state. It was about a 2 hour drive away to the big city.

My first year to go  was the grand opening of the big, new, rollercoaster attraction, the Shockwave. Two loop-de-loops of spine tingling action. The gringa was too young and naïve to realize that all the boys interested in going on the Spelunker ride with the girls only wanted to steal a kiss in the cool, dark passages. That was the second time in the gringa’s life that she socked a boy in the nose. But I learned quickly and didn’t fall for that trick a second time.

Now what has happened for the gringa to be reminiscing back to rollercoasters and clocking school boys? China. It’s all China’s fault. They have gone and done it this time. The gringa is counting her pennies and wondering just how fast she can afford to go to China. The gringa doesn’t plan on rollercoasters, though. No, now that I’m middle aged and epilepsy has had its toll on certain aspects, rollercoasters are out unless the gringa’s got paramedics lined up and waiting at the end of the ride. For the more sedate lifestyle I live now, the gringa still seeks adventure but with a smoother ride. Hence, China.

Remember when the gringa told you about Virgin Galactic and how you could hitch a ride to the highest heavens for a cool, couple hundred grand? Well, the gringa is certain that China can do it better and cheaper. In fact, considering that China is marketing their new ride as a feature at a theme park, surely tickets prices will be family friendly.

The plan is envisioned by KuangChi Science. The ride will be a balloon launch that will take passengers 15 miles into the atmosphere (24 kilometers).  The projected $1.5 billion project will encapsulate passengers in an airtight cabin beneath the balloon. Dubbed Shenzhou V after China’s first manned space mission in 2003,  the cabin is designed to block dangerous cosmic rays yet provide the comfort of a limousine-style ride. Once reaching top altitude, passengers will enjoy a peaceful cruise lasting a few hours before descent begins.  Although the ticket price hasn’t been announced, the gringa has got her fingers crossed that it may be in the $50 dollar range and include complimentary fortune cookies. Am I expecting too much?

Source: www.kuangchiscience.com

Image Credit: l.yimg.com

 

Read With The Gringa “Who’s Sorry Now?”, Chapt. 13, Part 1


Read with gringa as we begin a new chapter of “The Meanest Doll In The World” by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin. How did Mean Mimi get to Kate’s house?

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Read With The Gringa “The Story of the King’s Lettuce” Chapt. 15’s Conclusion


We finish the chapter together as we continue “Watership Down” by Richard Adams. El-ahrairah proves what a clever rabbit he is.

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Read With The Gringa “The Story of the King’s Lettuce”, Chapt. 15, Part 1


Read along with the gringa as we continue “Watership Down” by Richard Adams. El-ahrairah negotiates with Prince Rainbow a way for all rabbits to be free again.

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