Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Happy isn't a constant state. I can honestly say, I'm happy here.
 I promise you the very millisecond
before and after this picture were a comical combination
of frustration and determination to wrangle two
uncooperative girls.  
Today was the best Mother's Day.

Mother's Day was something that meant going to church, making sure Mama had her corsage.  I remember her being tinged with sadness, when she changed flowers, to represent she'd lost her Mother.  Looking back, this would have been in 1974, when I was just five.  After that, we would visit the grave sites for Grandmama (Louise Morgan Gault) and Grandma (Betty, Mary Elizabeth Bradley Moise).  I can honestly say, I don't remember a solitary gift I gave my mother growing up.  I don't recall making her breakfast, or anything we ate that day.  I don't think my Dad ever bought her jewelry, or what, aside from going to church, and being extra nice.  What were were, though, every year, was together.

Today, was just that sort of day.

Let me back up.  I married, with full disclosure, that I would either have to travel with my husband or be separated from him, on many birthdays, holidays, and such; the extent of which I'm still discovering.  There are four quarterly horse sales, and they don't always occur the same time every year, like the Kentucky Derby's First Saturday of May.  There's an art to picking the dates for each quarter's auction, but each always occurs in February, in May, in August, and in November.

In February, since we've been dating, JJ and I have yet to spend both my (Feb. 7) and his (Feb. 13) birthdays together.  Inevitably, the Sale days take him away either for mine, or for his.

In May, the Sale is always, the Monday after Mother's Day.  This occurred without too much notice that first year, but once we were married and I was expecting Greta Jo?  Believe me, I noticed.  I was so bummed out not being with JJ that year.  Last year, I went to the May Sale with my sister Leslie, but we traveled on Mother's Day... and well, traveling, even if just for three hours, wasn't all that fun, though getting to be a family at the end of the day, was a great reward.

The Sale in August will be, for the next six years, held during the girls' first day at school.  Now, for some, this is no big deal.  My heart aches for JJ though.  He's an amazing Papa.  He takes the girls to school with me, and although we know that we can't both keep doing that, for now, it's a real joy to share.  For him to miss this "first", and then the firsts of each year?  Owie.  Good thing though?  Greta Jo was right there with a smile and a kiss, followed by her parrot of my "all better!"

The November Sale happens, again, it moves about, but usually the week before Thanksgiving.  It's not a big deal now, to take the girls out of school, but this is the biggest, and therefore the longest of all the Sales.  I have yet to make it to the November Sale and am itching to.  I so want to go!  AND, chances are, I won't.  For one, it's the longest, and well, to take the girls out of school the week before Thanksgiving just isn't the best time.  Add to it, Poppop Jerry shared in my reiteration of this at dinner - everyone comes home sick with "the Sale Crud" in November especially, but also in February.

We likely won't go to February - because, I'm sorry, until it's easier to travel, and just plain easier on them, taking the girls to stand in a cold unheated sales arena isn't my definition of good family fun.

But why go?  Well, JJ started working for the Sale (when was it?)... well at least 10 years ago?  Possibly longer?  He started off in the equipment sale, I think, moved to the Sales Office and cashiers.  His Dad did something similar, and by 1979 was an officer filing documents and such.  His Grandfather did the same before that, working for his Uncle Bob, who founded the Blooded Horse Sale, after having worked with his father, who'd been a horse trader, with auctions for thoroughbreds, standardbreds, and livestock in Lexington, Cincinatti, and Atlanta.  They all worked for several years, sometimes for other sale companies, as in the case of Uncle Bob who worked for Tattersall's, where his father's auction was held, before taking the lead.  Poppop Jerry doesn't want to do "this" forever, but it doesn't take long to tell, he loves it just as much as JJ does.  As much as I have come to love it.

Given all this, Papa/JJ will be away from his girls, doing what he loves mind, and a work that will make the difference in when we get a house, and other necessities for our family, and continue a tradition in the trade of horses that goes, at the very least, five generations back.  JJ asked me why it was so important to me that the girls come to the Sale, every year.  I told him, several reasons: I want them to appreciate where Papa goes, when I don't get to bring them. I want them to have pride in the hard work of those before them.

This isn't to say that they will be sixth generation.  There's the old adage, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. To which I quip, you can feed him a hell-of-a-lot of salt though!  Well, there's a fine balance between exposure, such that kids can choose, and enforcing a parent's desires.  I can't help but think of the movie The Joy Luck Club, where the little girl is struggling to play the piano, and throws a fit under the pressure of her Mother.  I was lucky, and had the opposite in parents.  I was exposed, supported in my interests, urged to see things through, but guided through redirecting or focusing my time.  For example, it was my choice at 14 to stop playing five instruments, and focus on riding, training, and competing.  By then, I'd already started riding ex-racehorses.  . . why?  They were the ones my family could afford!  But I'm already well into one digression, so let me finish with this: the girls can't love, what they don't know.

JJ went to the Sale as a kid, but it was also something that wasn't all that big.  He had to come to love it as an adult.  He'd wanted to do his own thing... which he did and still does.  He started his own business, Memetech, undercapitalized but full of gumption, savvy and determination. In fact, the first year or so working for the Sale, his Sale salary sometimes went to, not putting a roof over his head, but to keep his business afloat, while he lived on the sofa he kept there.  He's grown that business over the last fifteen years into one that keeps crew on year round, where most in his industry lay off in slow season.  Memetech has grown to have loyal customers, and many wonderful crew, both present and past.  It's hard gruelling work, and the reward is the pride in having run it successfully is all those Memetech supports, whether the hundreds of churches and charities that have a vendor that donates most of his profit, or the crew that get the flexibility to pursue their art, or for us, the family that relies on it for both income and flexibility for JJ to be ever present in our girls lives.  Working the Sale has a utility, and makes the same difference, for many of the 60 or so staff and crew that work it every quarter.  At Memetech, family is crew.  It's the same at the Sale, it's a family.  It's a family not just in its founding, and the history in the trade of horses, but in who come and gather at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.

The girls can't love the Sale, if all they see is how it takes their Papa away.  On his or Maman's birthday. For Maman's Mother's Day.  For their first day of school.  Or driving him to distraction in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, including Halloween.

As much fun as the girls have had going to the Sale these last three years?  Well, it's Greta Jo's third sale (four if you count in utero), and Clara Lou's second (three, again, if you count in utero).   They're going to be just fine.

Thing of it is, I got stuck each of those years, over how I thought my Mother's Day would be.  I am ashamed to say, my panties were in a bunch.  Today was very different.  In part because of JJ and I getting each other better.  Also because, well, my own attitude shift.  Also, I wasn't even aware I had expectations, but I did.  I wanted a card made by the girls, a brunch, and relaxation.  I didn't want a day where I stopped being a Maman, but I wanted one where the four of us were together, as our own little family.

I just decided to get over myself.  All I really wanted was to be together.  Really. In the end, I mean you know, the end, that's all that really matters.  All the strife, struggle, blow-ups, mistakes, hurt, anger, none of it matters, in fact, it's worse if we let it take us away from being together, being connected.  We are social creatures.  I, despite what I may claim from time to time, am a social creature, and I love my little family. So yes, Mother's Day - together.  There will be plenty of times, soon enough, when our little ones are into their own lives.  While they are small, relying on us to get to and from, and peak their interest in this or that?  These are the holidays for us, and the foundation through which they may create their own traditions later.

Last year's solution of traveling on Mother's Day, meant a good chunk of time was spent something I don't enjoy, road trips with little ones.  Hell, I'd be hard pressed to find ANYONE who enjoys that.  So that day last year was not so much a "relaxing" treat that every Mom deserves. I was crankier than my girls by the time we arrived.

So this year, and I have no idea why it took me so long to come up with this, I suggested that I come up with the girls the day before.  If we left in the morning, we might even get to do something fun.

What you plan and what happens are rarely the same, and we left during nap.  Worked fine, and the girls, in their infinite wisdom, decided that napping was a bad idea.  They watched a movie, they played with toys.  They read books.  They played with their toes. We ate fast food.  We indulged in just being together.  I got one of my favourite things - car conversation with JJ.  (I don't know why, but have my suspicions, but he opens up most when we're taking road trips).  Check off a new Mother's Day tradition: travel day before.

There was a mix up with our room reservation in Delaware, so we stayed in northern Columbus.  It was just a 30 minute drive, down a gorgeous stretch of country road, the Olentangy River Road.  We were near where yet another part of JJ's family is from, Worthington (see Thomas Worthington and ).   I took this road last year, and adored it. JJ didn't recall whether he'd travelled it before.  I think this road in from Columbus to Delaware is part of my new tradition for Mother's Day.  Right along traveling the day before.

We got to see Grandma Billie and Poppop Jerry, briefly, as they, like Papa JJ had to get to work.  The Sale happens at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.  It happens here, from what I understand, because Uncle Bob (the girls' Great-Great-Uncle, on their maternal Grandmother's side), started the Blooded Horse Sale company where one of the biggest races for harness racing, The Little Brown Jug.  Oddly, JJ and I have yet to go to the Jug, but this year, I'm not waiting for an invitation.  Asa told me tonight, how the Morgan's have held onto the tradition, and are proud to have the box that Uncle Bob had for the Sale company.  I don't care if I have to hot walk horses to get on the grounds, I'm coming.  Which mean, finding a sitter.  I'm not bringing the girls here twice, and with that crowd?  That would just be asking for trouble!  But, again :rolls eyes at self: I digress.

The girls had a ball running around the Colosseum/arena where the auction is held.  Equipment was being delivered.  The girls took time to explore the chairs, the office, the grounds. They gravitated to the auction ring.  

I took them to church.  I took them to St. Peters, a church founded in the 1800s, gorgeous, and the parishioners even more lovely than I could have hoped.  There's a story about Greta Jo, but let it suffice, she was her fiery self, and not a single person left that sanctuary without knowing her and her name.

Afterwards, we picked up Papa again.  We were there for about an hour.  He had to get to a stopping point.  I got lost in conversation too. We went to Tim Horton's for a casual quick bite before checking in to our hotel.  After nap, we joined everyone for dinner at Bun's.  Poor Greta Jo got her finger smashed, but it was nothing a balloon from a nice Wesley graduate couldn't assuage.  There was a green space where the girls could run.  We came home, and the girls were high octane.  It's a little before midnight now, but they didn't fall asleep until 9:30 or so.  Papa was asleep about the same time.

My mind's a whir.  I am flooded with thoughts, so many more than are actually finding their way to the page.  I feel so loved.  I am filled with love for all the Mamas in my life, whether sister, Mother, friend, or even if just a Mama-wanna-be.  I had to share how wonderful today was.  The only thing missing was being able to see my own Mom (or Mama, as I call her on Mother's Day, as that's what I called her when I was small).    I love my family.  We are rich with story and character, flaws, and wonderment.

The Rector at St. Peter's took today's scripture, and made the lesson of love being one that we can crush, if we aren't careful, with our expectations.  Crush is exactly what I did to myself these last few Mother's Days where they didn't happen according to plan.  Today, the message and lesson I took away, was that to effect change in my life, to let God in, is to let go of how we expect life, how we expect God to show up in it.

So, I can unequivocally say: today was perfect.  Just the way it was.

After corresponding with some cousins from the Worthington side, we are, if at all, only distantly related to that Thomas Worthington. They start with Roger Worthington 1544-1604 who beget (Cousin Hendy, I like that word too!) Thomas Worthington 1570-1626  who beget Roger Worthington 1593-1649 who beget (maybe the word is indeed begat) Francis Worthington 1616 who begat John Worthington 1650-01701 who begat John Worthington 1650-1701 who begat John Worthington, Jr. 1688-1763 who begat Samuel Worthington 1734-1815.

Samuel Worthington was born in Maryland.  He was married to Mary Tolley & they had 11 children.  She then died, probably of exhaustion, & he married her niece, 13 years younger, & had 11 more. (Cousin Theresa discovered the relationship herself when doing Mary Tolley's family).

We are descended from one of the first 11--James, who was a twin. He & his twin came to Mercer County around 1800. Charles T Worthington, (senior) was his son. Charles T. Worthington married Joanna Theresa Gill.  They had 10 children but the first 2 or 3 died.  James was the first to survive. After that, the rest survived except maybe one--the cemetery stuff a little unclear. Well, Charles Jr. was one.  Union was as well although HE was named before Rebel-- that Cousin Theresa's found the relative birthdates herself when the issue arose. Mary Worthington was the last child & only the second girl to survive.  Seven in all made it.  Charles Sr. was born in KY, probably still around Mercer & studied law in St. Louis.  He developed lung problems & was told to leave St. Louis & he went & bought the land that gave rise to Happy Valley. Charles Jr. married Molly Evens who died in childbirth with Molly Worthington. Cousin Theresa's great grandmother was given her to raise as her own but Mary raised the others as well as long as she was at Happy Valley.  She took Molly with her when she went to Bloomfield, but not the others.

Of note, I don't know how Mary, also known as Mary Hen, mother of JJ's maternal Grandfather, Asa Hickman Jewell, who was pictured in my last post, is related to this sort.  I thought her father was Charles Worthington Jr, but need to check.
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