Mothers Day

11 May

I had a wonderful Mothers Day.  I guess I technically celebrated my first MD last year (Nate got me a gift cert for a massage, which I hoarded until 8.5 months gestation – a wise choice), but this year it felt like I was going pro.  I was really looking forward to it.  I wondered what Ida would get me…..

The day was jam-packed.  Ida was baptized at Berry, we had a little party at our place and had lots of family in town to celebrate with.  The baptism was so incredibly beautiful and I’m glad that I took a leap of faith and did it.  I was on the fence for a while – not really knowing how I felt about the whole “salvation from damnation” aspect (not good – I did not really think my tiny redheaded meatloaf was doomed until dunked – and also, I do not think anyone is doomed), but I felt really excited about a ritual that recognized Ida as part of our little community and commenced her journey of discovering the world.  I think this tension pretty much sums up my feelings about Christianity in general – I’m not on board with some of the cultural tenants of American Christianity (and as those professing them would say “Biblical Tenants” – potAYto, potAHto….), like, for instance, believing homosexuality to be an abomination, thinking that Buddhists are barking up the wrong tree, or giving two shits about whether or not folks have loving and respectful sex before they buy me and their other friends and relatives some chicken kiev. But at the same time, I love the community that this faith can inspire (don’t get me wrong, it can make some ugly stuff too).  Like lots of my evangelical baggage, these issues were neatly and peacefully addressed in a meeting with our church‘s wonderful shepherd, Pastor Sherrie.

Photo by the truly amazing Sarah Rhee (

You know those people who just seem to ooze calm, and love, and serenity?  That’s Pastor Sherrie.  Every week she stands up and delivers brave messages of inclusion and peacemaking and advocacy for the voiceless.  She is wholly herself in these talks – going about communicating in her own perfect way that conforms to none of the expectations of my idea of “pastor.”  She is not bossy, loud, or aggressive – always pushing us gently toward more love and acceptance.  I adore this woman with my whole heart and have a really hard time keeping it together when she says “everyone is welcome”.  In fact, the first time I came to Berry (after performing with think/dance collective in their basement), I bawled my eyes out when I heard the words “In the United Methodist Church we practice holy communion.  Everyone is welcome.”  And then she said…….. nothing.  That was a revolution to me.  In my experience, taking communion was always proceeded by lengthy explanations of who qualified – of who was committed enough – of who was NOT welcome.  Everyone is welcome – now THIS was a church I could get on board with.  In exploring Berry more, I discovered a community that is committed to fair trade, CSA, full participation by children (they are very much seen and heard and loved at Berry), the arts, GLBT rights and advocacy, feminism, and a slew of social justice clauses.  I’m pretty sure this is the place Glenn Beck had in mind when he made his insane comments a few weeks ago.  Don’t worry, we turned Pastor Sherrie in.

So anyway, at this meeting, Pastor Sherrie, Nathan and I talked about baptism.  We talked about welcoming Ida into our community, recognizing the light inside of her and sharing in a ritual that would celebrate the beginning of her journey of exploring the world.  I was nervous that there would be talk of hell and damnation (why?  Who knows.  I’m not sure I’ve ever really heard Pastor Sherrie talk about hell outside of the context of poverty or injustice) but of course, there wasn’t.  Ida grabbed at the hymnal pages, trying her best to rip them out and eat them.  She has a hunger for hymns, this one.  I felt so glad for a place where we could all be, and explore, and grow.  Berry is one of the main reasons that I can’t imagine living anywhere but Chicago.

Seriously, Sarah! How do you do it?! Everything looks so beautiful through your camera.

As always, at Ida’s baptism, the folks at Berry did not disappoint.  Pastor Sherrie is a genius of human kindness and finding the important stuff – she talked about the idea of a neighborhood, about taking care of each other, and about Ida flourishing however she will.  We sang “This Little Light Of Mine” and all lit candles from the big candle that Pastor Sherrie and Ida lit together after Ida was baptized – Ida’s candle.  The choir sang, and the band or miscellaneous instruments played in their wild and jubilant way.

I held my little light (Ida) and felt so glad for the millionth time that I had all of these beautiful people with me to help with the awesome responsibility of letting Ida shine.  Have you seen the kid smile?  I think she’s got the whole shining thing down…. She’s going to shine no matter how much I screw it up, I think.  Okay, mama moment, I’m done.  Pastor Sherrie walked Ida around the room to see everyone.  I watched the faces of all of these people adoring my daughter – glowing with gladness that she had come to be with them – and I felt like I might burst out of my skin with the fullness of it all.  Parents, you know what I’m talking about here, right?  Like, it’s one thing to love me – that’s great, but when you love my kid my loyalty to you – my love for you gets ferocious and strong.  I literally felt relief when the service was over – it was almost too much goodness to take.

Berry hearts Ida (Photo by Sarah Rhee)

So my first Pro Mothers Day was great.  Nathan got me a book I really wanted, I Don’t Care About Your Band,

My husband sure is dreamy. This book is right up my alley.

Aeropress coffee maker = AWESOME

an Aeropress coffee maker, and a day of my choosing to do whatever I want, during which he will make me coffee, breakfast and leave me alone to read in bed all day whilst taking care of our lovely daughter.  This combination was absolutely perfect and reminded me again why he’s such a great partner and co-parent.

Happy Mothers Day, Everybody.  I hope yours was grand.


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