Monday, May 09, 2005

Mother's Day

Another Mother’s Day and the papers full of schmaltzy stories of great mothers and the great relationships they have with their children. I always wonder about those stories…Perhaps because I know similar ones, or should I say dissimilar ones. For example, I can’t mention the name, she (the daughter) once wrote an essay saying that the one person she so deeply admired was her mom. Her Mom had studied overcoming many obstacles and still managed to make their family life easy, blah, blah. The usual clichés. As soon as her Mom committed the great fuax pas—can’t mention what that was either—she turned her back on her. Of course, now they have come together again. Perhaps because her mother wasn’t willing to sever ties… Another story, “My mom is the best, blah blah …” But the young woman feels a lot of resentment. “She treats my sister better than she ever treated me…” I guess those stories in the newspaper are intended to make readers feel validation. Or perhaps they're intended to convince people that the nuclear family works when Mom is willing to give it all for her children: You've heard the spiel: Mom's are all giving, have no life beyond the call of motherhood, are selfless etc. Yet, they hide the underbelly of the dragon, the tortured relationships between mothers and their children. I like to think I have a fairly sane, stable relationship with my son. But I suppose it could be better. Maybe that will come later when we can see each other as confidantes. We do some of that now. It once seemed as if Helen Reddy’s “You and Me against the World” was our anthem. But ever since someone else entered the our family life, the song no longer works. I suppose he must feel alone in his own world, now that Mom can no longer be an accomplice, not entirely. I myself have an uneasy relationship with my mother. I guess it might be because we are so different! And yet, my husband says we are so alike. Ironic, I guess how you struggle all your life to be unlike some one, some specific person and then you end up being just that person. A cautionary tale, I guess. In this case instead of beware of what you wish for…turns into beware of what you don’t’ wish for… And then how does she feel about me? But I won’t go there.

So who is the person I would most like to be like? I don’t know. I wasn’t lucky enough to be surrounded by role models I wanted to emulate. Certainly I admired qualities in some people. I wanted to have like the gift of gab. Definitely a quality to strive for. There was also social conscience, environmental awareness, political savvy, a fast and prodigious wit. But you don’t often find all those qualities in one person. Of course, there’s also wisdom and intelligence. My husband has those qualities. I want to grow up to be like him and then some more. Always unsatisfied. Who said “satisfaction is death”? Always wanting more. I once wrote a poem about satisfaction—included below---but for me the state of satisfaction is always temporary. Although I no longer yearn for “another place, not here”(yes, an allusion to Dionne Brand for those who know her, and those who don’t) I still long for other things, not material necessarily—I think at times that I’ve got too much of that already—but other things, things to still the existential angst. And now, can that be silenced?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Strike

This whole strike thing is getting to be very frustrating, especially for someone like me. I want to go and shake people up, the students especially. What are they waiting for to take a stand? What are they thinking about in the comfort of their homes? I have tried to elicit some response from my students by sending them emails about the situation and no one seems to be stirred. Mae says our students need to be angrier. I am going to have to agree with her on that. How can they allow this to go on and not react? There have been only twenty at most twenty five students at the university gates—when they had agreed that at least hundred were needed, and yet not one of the anti-strikers challenges what is going on. I have mixed feelings about the strike because I don’t think tuition should be raised, but to go an indefinite strike?? And what the hell is an indefinite strike? Does that mean that if the certification 70 is not overturned we will NEVER get back to school. I think that an effective strike would be one that impedes the employees from getting paid. As it is right now, professors and employees are in the comfort of their homes getting paid!!! Hello!!! Who’s going to complain about that. Yeah, nut cases like me. Geezers that think that the university has meaning, that education is important, that satisfaction and passivity are synonyms for DEATH!!! Impotence is the word that best fits what I’m feeling right now, wanting to do something but having neither the leadership nor the charm to stir the masses to action.