Monday, May 23, 2011

Mothers' Day in Oz

Picture perfect at the park on Mothers' Day 2011
But what I REALLY wanted to talk about - before I got sidetracked by all that collective guilt - was Mothers' Day.

It was truly awesome here.  The best holiday so far.

It was bigger than Easter - which was celebrated more like we celebrate May 1 in the USA - with picnics and beach.  It was bigger than Christmas.  Maybe because it rained for the entire month of December and into January and noone knew what to do without their traditional Christmas camping trips.  And then we have had the floods to recover from.

EVERYONE WAS OUT CELEBRATING THEIR MOTHER.  Restaurants were pre-booked.  Parks and beaches were packed.  And it was a holiday that every race and ethnicity seemed to call their own.  Damon's native Australian customers told him that - because of their huge respect for ancestors and elders - they started the day at 6 AM and went on until evening, visiting mothers, grandmothers, aunts, tribal mothers and more.  Ancestors are also highly revered in Asian cultures so I was hoping they embraced the day as well. 

Although he DOES look exactly like his DAD, not his Mum!

It wasn't a commerical thing like what I remember from the USA. 

And it wasn't some lame obligation where the kids had to make a cheap trinket in school like it is in Germany. 

Australians REALLY celebrate their mothers!  It wasn't a marginalized, second-hand holiday.  It was THE REAL THING!

And so I holiday that I have always found rather lame and extraneous has become my favourite one here!

We went down to the beach on Bribey Island and found a table at a Fish and Chips joint.  How great to walk with my four children and have everyone smile at me and wish me well.  How great to see other families all out enjoying eachother.  How fantastic that families are truly respected and treasured here, not seen as some obligation as in Germany.  How great to not be judged as somehow second-class for having a large family.  How great to feel the joy in it.

I still got my daughter!  AND a free table for Fish -n- Chips!

The Mothers' Day stall that the PandC ran at the school was incredible.  I gave each of my kids one dollar to buy me something.  Thinking great, another crappy wooden picture frame or some lame piece of sewing I have to keep in the kitchen for the next two years.

I got a package of fudge, some bath salts, a cool refrigerator magnet and a bead decoration that hangs over my calendar.  The kids were so truly happy to have picked these treasures out themselves - to see that they WERE truly treasures and not just some crap they had to make for me that I had to like because that is what you do on Mothers' Day - and they were so happy to make ME happy.  Better than a birthday.  Better than Christmas.  Because my kids got to feel really good about themselves making me happy.  Thank you for that, PandC!

My two hip-hop dancers perform for me.

And thank you for this holiday Australia - and for the general sentiment.

There is JOY in being a mother. 

And I finally get to live that joy, rather than wonder where it all went.

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