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It’s still Mother’s Day to me

Today, this heavenly, very hot May 14, is Anna’s due date – but that big boy is staying put for now. I’ll have to blog every day from now on, as so many friends are waiting for news, and if there’s silence here, they’ll assume exciting things are happening on the other side of town. Well, I’m sure they are, but not to my family. Not yet.

Exciting things are happening in Ottawa, though – the re-emergence of my spirited mother. Today she told me that her doctor is so handsome, she’s using lots of Elizabeth Arden cream to repair her face, and she informed him she’d like to write a story about the Ottawa Heart Institute, which she so admires. “My daughter is a writer,” she told him. “She’ll help me.” If Mum is flirting with her doctor, all is well. Life has returned.

Yesterday, a sweet Mother’s Day. Wayson and I went to Factory Theatre to see a marvellous one-man show, “How to Disappear Completely,” written by and starring Itai Erdal, a lighting designer who flew home from Vancouver to Israel when his mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He filmed interviews with this lively, intelligent woman throughout her dying; he shows us film and talks to us about his work with light and about his family. It’s like sitting on an hour long plane ride beside a very interesting, open man who is telling you the truth about his life. Very moving; beautifully done.

When we emerged from Factory onto Adelaide Street, where Wayson had parked his car, we found a huge Portuguese religious parade completely blocking the street – little girls dressed as angels, priests in white, hundreds of the faithful carrying thick white candles and Jesus carried aloft, surrounded by flowers. An elderly woman dressed, of course, all in black, sat in her deckchair at the edge of the road and wept as her Lord went by. Finally, Mr. Choy and I went down the street for coffee; it took an hour before we were able to liberate the car. I found it interesting to be in downtown Toronto and simultaneously in a small Portuguese village, but that kind of faith, particularly as shown by the young people present, I find incomprehensible.

What I do have faith in – my children. Anna and I went to look at baby books, her Mother’s Day present from me – my mum used Spock, I used Penelope Leach, and now there’s some guy called Dr. Sears, recommended by Anna’s midwife. But he’s the guy who espouses “attachment parenting” and “co-sleeping” and provoked the current cover of Time, which both Anna and I find crazy and strange and, frankly, gross. What must the feminist French intellectual Elizabeth Badinter think, she who has just published a book about the tyranny of breast-feeding?

The latest cover of Time magazine, featuring American mother Jamie Lynne Grumet breastfeeding her 3-year-old son, Aram. The cover, released Friday, has sparked a national debate about attachment parenting. Grumet defended the practice, saying it was a personal choice.

Saying “I turned out all right, didn’t I?”, Anna chose Penelope Leach.

And then we walked, very slowly, to Sam’s restaurant for dinner. He led us to a table on the patio, and as soon as we sat down,  there was a carafe of red wine in front of me and a glass of Coke for her. Now, that’s service. He treated us both to a wonderful dinner. My children are usually a study in contrasts, he a hugely tall blonde beanpole, she short, dark, soft and curvy. But now that at 9 months pregnant she’s rounder than round, the two are truly absurd to imagine as brother and sister.

And yet they are. My body and I know that for a fact.

P.S. Here’s a cover story, not-very-good review of the book by Elizabeth Badinter in the latest NYT Book Review, which also features a great last page article by one of my favourite writers, Roger Rosenblatt, about having a writer in the family:
Two new books examine the current culture of motherhood: one bemoaning it and the other suggesting what might be done to improve the balance of work and family demands.

Sure, authors get treated like weirdos in their own homes, but they have only themselves to blame.



6 Responses to “It’s still Mother’s Day to me”

  1. My own daughter is 25 today, and she turned out all right as well, thanks to Ms Leach (with help from her mother and me). I was very la leche back in the day but confess to finding the Time cover somewhat disturbing; something about people doing the right things for the wrong reasons. Or about me being old and crotchety. One or the other.

  2. beth says:

    It's just creepy, Chris – particularly the mother's detachment. It's like she's handing him a sandwich.
    Yay Penelope Leach, my saviour during those 3 a.m. panics! Happy Birthday to your daughter. And to you, Dad for 25 years.

  3. Juliet in Paris says:

    In France they’d call this photo an "instrumentalisation politique" meaning the manipulation and exploitation of a person or situation for one’s own (political) ends. I view the photo as deeply misogynistic and therefore offensive – the woman is characterized as two things: a lactating cow and a callous one at that. This is evidenced in the absence of warmth, nurture and ample breasts which stereotype motherhood (and what the article is said to espouse.) There’s a disconnect.

    The article profiles attachment parenting guru, Dr. Bill Sears, who wrote a book 20 years ago. So why use a photo of a slim blonde breastfeeding a giant-sized 3 year old? Sensationalism and shock value, of course. I wonder if Jamie Lynne Grumet is even aware that she was used not only as a tool of misogyny but also as a tool to increase readership and circulation revenue.

    Feminist groups across North America should boycott Time magazine.

  4. beth says:

    Juliet, I agree with a lot of what you say – manipulation abounds here. What is most disturbing to me is that the now-infamous image of this child will be out there for the rest of his life. What is served by this photograph is impossible to imagine, or how Dr. Sears imagines this is good publicity for his theories.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


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Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.