This love affair of mine is no secret.
This image is from http://www.zmescience.com/
Although I’m Daddy’s Girl to the core, I do have space in my heart for two more.
My birth mother and my earth mother.
This image is from http://www.wondercliparts.com/
I am terribly saddened by these events around the world.
This image is from http://www.china.org.cn/
So I try my darnedest to do what I know.
The above two images are from http://www.uniqueteachingresources.com
Then, there are other things that I do to make my earth mother less sad.
You know how I began using newspaper to wrap gifts 4 years ago. That sent a few ripples of the ‘She’s NUTS!’ sort, and I got a significant number of the ‘She’s got guts.‘ sort!
You win some + You lose some = Life.
And for me, there’s only one direction in life – onward and upward.
So for the past four years, everyone I know has received their gifts wrapped, very thoughtfully, in newspaper. Last year, I kicked my mother(earth)loving mania up a notch for Mum’s birthday.
Mum turned 80 and since it is one of those big deal milestones, Big Bro, Big Sis and I decided the annual dinner for a few dozen at home would just not do. When Mum, the ace party animal, gave her nod of consent (before we could complete the question!), the little ones began a-plannin’.
“I’ll do the invitations!” Baby (bug)Bear AKA me, offered excitedly.
From experience, my older siblings recognised that kind of enthusiasm as trouble. From experience, too, this baby in the family knows when she can push her luck. And Lady Luck smiled down on Batty Baby because this is the invitation all the guests, in country and overseas, received for Mum’s birthday bash.
I hand wrote the invitations. All 102 of them.
I took an A4, cut it in half, uh, jazzed up the edges on two sides with a pair of pinking scissors (please be impressed) and wrote down the details using my everyday pen.
Okay, I’ll give you all a few seconds to pick your horrified jaws off the ground.
I know what you’re thinking. “Such an important occasion and you gave out these … these scraps of paper? WHY?”
Simple. Because it breaks my heart to see how invitations are trashed after the occasion. Yes, people ooh and aah upon receipt of glitzy invitations. The more ostentatious invitations go on to become a topic of conversation briefly among some. But they all meet the same fate. The grossly outsized ones, the ones with multiple puzzling parts, the ones with glitter falling out when first opened and the perfumed ones. All in the trash can. How much my poor earth mother bled to make us, ungrateful children, happy for a few fleeting moments.
I believe in this.
So 80th birthday or not, Mum’s birthday was just another day to me. As I tend to, I chose to put my foot into my mouth. It’s fairly easy for me now because I open my mouth so nice and wide to begin with. 😉
When I folded the invitation, I put each one into a regular white envelope. I skipped writing the guests’ names on the envelope, as is the norm. Then I explained to our mildly bewildered friends and relatives, that I did that so that they could reuse the envelope themselves.
And my final green touch to the invitations was travelling to the homes of the guests in my state by public transport. I chose to deliver the invitations personally so that I could spend time with each of them. Having lived away from home since I left for university, I am not terribly close to most because I meet them during my annual visits home and then again, at events – weddings, birthdays or funerals. I don’t know these outer circle relatives and friends as well as I’d like to. Spending time when delivering the invitations made a significant difference on that front.
The other reason I decided to deliver the invitations in person was because I wanted to emphasise that they not bring a gift as requested at the bottom of the invitation.
Instead, I requested they fill in the enclosed, large Post-It-like slip of coloured paper than Big Sis had added a little artwork to.
That slip of paper was for each guest or family to write what they wished for Mum or share their experience with her. Big Sis thought of this because she pointed out that Mum is a sentimental fool (like me).
A fool judges people by the presents they give him. ~ Chinese proverb
Mum has old handwritten cards and letters that are decades old. She goes through them at least twice a year when the family is together, usually around our dining table or in her bedroom. We read them aloud, talk about the ones who wrote them, run our fingers along the once familiar writing of those who live far away or who have passed away. And in some strange way, we feel like we are all together again.
Golden Girl – Mum
Little Girl Blue – Big Sis, Red Riding Cheongsam/Qipao – me, English Rose – Godbaby
Mum was delighted with all the notes that she got back. Most guests had filled up every little bit of blank space with anecdotes from the past, and we all learned so much more about Mum.
These are two of the least filled in slips we received.
This was the simplest one Mum got.
This was my favourite one.
I loved this slip the most because Zinia added those little rose-y touches to it.
Zinia thrilled me further by telling me that she did that as her little green contribution to the event. She and her family were delighted with the outcome, too, especially because they realised that something so simple could be turned into something so special. (Go, Kate, you green freak, go!)
“Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.” ~ Edmund Burke (Irish statesman and philosopher. 1729-1797)
When I went around distributing the invitations, I was pleasantly surprised with everyone’s response when I explained the madness behind the reason for that very simple invitation. They understood my concern from the environmental point of view, agreed it was valid and commended me for taking that bold step. Most were honest enough to admit that they would not be able to do the same because they were too afraid of being ridiculed.
Ridicule? Doesn’t bother me. I get it so much, it’s like one of those magical little trace elements in my daily dose of multivitamins!
I’ll go further and twist the Adidas slogan and say – Ridicule is Nothing.
It’s a small price to pay if I want to live in this kind of a world.
This image is from http://blog.woozworld.com/en/?p=3739
Earth Day is 22 April.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: HEAR YE! HEAR YE! :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
Bestie Boy arrives for a visit on 17 April. As you know, I am very particular about responding to comments that you all take the time and patience to write out. However, I will not be able to reply to comments you leave from 16 – 29 April.
I have been prepping for his visit and tying up things at work, which is why, my RSSed buds, I have not had the time to enjoy reading through and commenting on your blogs as well for a while now. Thank you for understanding.
I think of all of you. Our personalities filter through our words and that has helped me build up an image of each of you. Sorta like playing Sims (which I never did), but better! Because you are free to do your own thing, and I’m free to join you on your blogging journey.
But I’m gonna break journey for a bit longer now.
And I’m going to walk on my head instead. 🙂
P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.
I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!