- Guess how many boys at school like me Mama?
- How many?
- How do you know they like you?
- Because they’re really mean! And when boys are mean, it means they like you.
Many of us don’t know why the recent news of the condemnation of General Rios Montt in Guatemala is such a big deal. He has received a sentence of 80 years for genocide and crimes against humanity (click here to read more), in a sort of Guatemalan Nuremberg trial. The genocide claimed 200 thousand people.
If you wonder what it means for Guatemalans of every age, look where they demanded his trial.
The angel image on the back of the man’s T-shirt is the photograph that came to symbolize the country’s civil war, by a photographer who made it his life’s work not to let his countrymen forget (click link for more of his images).
The man is wearing the shoulder blades of one of the many bodies that were found in mass graves in Guatemala, thanks to the General.
This is what Guatemalans who were lucky enough to find their relatives were left with.
The story of what Guatemala has been through is familiar to our parents, but most of us don’t know it. We should.
Listen to it here, on the incredible radio that is This American Life. I listened to it a few months ago and sobbed through most of it, but I feel and always will feel that we owe it to those who have suffered to hear their story and know it. So please consider giving up one evening of your Mad Men fix and learning something you will never unlearn.
I’ve had many mothers, starting with my own, of course. But there is a reason that the difficult mother-daughter relationship is such a stereotype: because it is, and ours remains so.
So I’ve had many other mothers. I realize now that I gravitated towards friends whose mothers took care of me. And by caring I mean that they fed me, watched out for me and yelled at me as though I were their own daughter. But the yelling was different from what I was used to: it came from worry and caring.
There was C. She was the mother of my best friend in high school. I’ll never forget us stumbling up the hill to my house when we were 16 years old, only to find her car parked in front of my house, where my own mother was fast asleep. We had promised to get home at a decent time, but instead stayed out til the bars closed. She yelled at us both, and terrified us equally, and I’m still grateful someone was watching out for us.
Today we have reconnected, and I still adore her and want nothing more than to show her some of the care she gave me.
There was E. She was the mother of a friend I made when I was in cegep. After I’d had a terrible fight with my mother, her mother let me move in and I slept on a cot next to my (still-beloved) friend for a month. It was her mother who drove me to the train station when I left for university and hugged my 17-year old self goodbye. She made me a box of “essentials” including bandaids labeled “to mend any broken hearts”. My mother didn’t come.
Today we’ve lost touch, but I will always love her for having been so kind to me when I needed it so much.
There is, and will always be, W. my not-so-wicked stepmother. She entered our lives when I was 12, and brought her Lebanese loveliness with her. She never once made my brother and I feel that we should compete with our new brother and sister, or that we were a burden. She is still the one who has taught me most about how to compromise, how to show care, and how to be patient with those we love.
So no, I haven’t had an easy time with my own mother, but that’s why I’ve had the luck of having these other women show me their way of mothering. Happy Mother’s day to you mum, and to you my adopted mothers.
All of us are better when we’re loved.
Today was nothing special, just busier than usual. Meetings, phone calls, more meetings, budgets, media plans.
Nothing special, just more of it than usual.
Then a power yoga class. 90 minutes of sweating and stretching and standing on one leg and twisting and hopping.
Somewhere between child’s pose and chataranga #29, I got high. Happy. Weirdly overjoyed, like my entire body was smiling at itself. Grateful - for myself. Imagine that. For learning to do my job better every day, for being strong enough to do a handstand, for the good place I’m in in all the places I’m in. All of it.
Women don’t often get to say they’re proud of themselves. But I am, proud and grateful. There are days when I’m less so, but tonight I spent a lot of time grinning into my sweaty yoga mat.
And then I remembered. Today would have been my 12th wedding anniversary.
Happy anniversary to me, and to this good life of mine.