There are two things that I miss on Mother’s Day. My Mother and the apostrophe. According to good ole Wikipedia, the first citing of the apostrophe dates back to 1496, the same century Trinidad and Tobago was graced with the presence of Christopher Columbus (1498). Go figure. Crazy things happened that century.
As a punctuation mark, the apostrophe has always been one of my favourites. It’s quite versatile and has many uses, powerful ones too. Let’s start with this diacritical mark’s role in contractions. Yes, contractions! Same things that occur in the hours leading up to that beautiful moment when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. And that really is the best moment. I am yet to find another moment since that one that is as perfect. It’s been hard as fuck ever since. Thank God for Sean. He is the real hero. I’m useless! He’s so much better at life than me.
I digress. In English, a contraction is when two or more words are merged or shortened in spelling and in sound. So cannot is also can’t and do not is also don’t. Apostrophes are also used to indicate possession. Again in a shortened form. So TTChatterbox’s blog VS The Blog of TTChatterbox though both are a mouthful – the irony! After contractions in the world of apostrophes, this airborne comma is also used in the realms of pluralization and much more.
Now today being Mother’s Day in Trinidad and Tobago and the United States, apart from the insufficient outpouring of love for a mere 24 hours, today will also see the blatant omission of the apostrophe. Who do I blame? Smartphones? Spell checks? Lack of intelligence? No desire? Does anyone care? Well let me tell you, apostrophes and Mothers have a lot in common so we should care. Without those contractions, neither would exist. They both convey possession. To be a Mother, you must own your children whether biological or otherwise. Owning meaning take responsibility for what you produced as a result of that unprotected sex that you probably don’t even remember (escially if you weren’t a part of the conception!). If you’re one of the lucky ones and actually planned your pregnancies, then the joke is really on you. An oxymoron, yes? A mystery more like it. People really want to have children and stand by that statement? Sigh. This is the hardest things I have ever done. I want to give up every day. But I can’t and won’t. But just like the child, I AM going to throw tantrums as and when necessary. To get me through his tantrums of course. And he is a great child eh. It’s me with the problems.
As the victim of an unplanned pregnancy, even though we were married for seven years, I remember I used to think those that plotted their offspring with cute calendars and matching blue or pink stickers were the lucky ones. They knew they wanted to be mothers and went for it. I knew, as a result of my own Mother, that I never wanted to be a Mother. Why? Because I could never be as good as her, so why try? I wasn’t the right target audience either. Selfish. Self-asorbed. Narcissist. Unreliable. Never punctual. Anger management issues. And did I mention that becoming a parent means that you have to grow up? And while I am barely an adult, one thing that I am is heroic so I accepted the Mother challenge with a sprinkle of fear of the Lord above and the child within.
So I shrugged it off as something I could do. Boy, was I wrong. And the boy shows me that everyday. Motherhood is one job that I am bad at. It’s like the emergency exit on a plane. You don’t realize just how fucked you are until you are staring the responsibility in the face, and the cute flight attendant is telling you what is required should there be an incident in the sky.
I experienced my first Mother’s Day in the UK where Chatterbox JR was born in 2009. I celebrated twice too, as the UK celebrates the day in March and here in T&T, the second Sunday of May. With my birthday being on May 10th, it was always a weekend where there was cake and dinner at a fancy restaurant and maybe a family lime or three. Almost ten years later and since I’ve lost my own Mother, I’d like to give the day back to Anna Jarvis who coined the day in 1908 in memory of her own Mother. Now the story gets even funnier. Anna was apparently a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers and that’s exactly what I feel like – a wounded soldier. And I know I only have one. And there are some of you that programmed yourself into thinking that more than one child was a thing. Continue to suck it up and post those amazing photos on Facebook and Instagram. You aren’t fooling me. You hate it!!!!! And if you don’t then you’re on medication and catastrophic amounts of coffee, like me.
So as I face each day in both survival and low battery mode, let me be true to my TTChatterbox brand and give a few suggestions for Mother’s Day.
- Use the fucking apostrophe.
If you’re going to put your Mother or yourself on a pedestal today, for God’s sake, use the fucking apostrophe. It’s the right thing to do.
2. No Flowers.
Flowers are used at both weddings and funerals – ceremonies that commerrorate death. Why would you give the person who birthed flowers – which are going to die as well?!?!?! It’s a stupid idea. A blossoming plant is better idea.
3. Never underestimate the power of a nap.
Yes, a nap. Get your mother or your wife a fancy one. Just book her a day at the Hyatt and tell her go sleep. Watch TV. Have an interrupted shower. Take a shit. Naked! And not have to worry about any interruptions. Enjoy being in a clean bathroom and tucking into a made up bed. Eating what you want and not having to compromise or share. I could go on. Get her a nap!
4. Call your Mother.
A luxury I no longer have. Don’t care what your story is. You have one to tell because of her. Call her.
5. You don’t have to be a Mother.
It is not necessary. You are not incomplete. It is not your calling as a woman. You are not missing out. You are not a loser. You are not unwanted. It’s okay if your career is more important. It’s okay if you had a ducked up childhood and just don’t want kids. It’s ok.
6. Wine or Coffee.
A woman likes either or both and honestly any mother unless completely allergic, will not say no to alcohol. Coffee or tea works too as these beverages all get us to somehow breathe after each sip. A sort of sigh converged with a gasp for survival yet a reckoning that somehow we will make it through another day.
So maybe that wasn’t the best list or was it? That’s motherhood. I never know if I am coming or going. Is it just me? Ok I need coffee. Hope all the Mamas in whatever form had a good day this year! Continue to be awesome! Come what may.