“Years and years after a woman has delivered a child, she continues to carry vestiges of that child in her body. I’m talking about tangible vestiges now, not memories. Stray cells from a growing fetus circulate through a woman’s body during pregnancy … Scientists have found fetal cells surviving in the maternal bloodstream decades after the women have given birth to their children The cells didn’t die; they didn’t get washed away. … A mother, then, is forever a chimera, a blend of the body she was born with and of all the bodies she has borne.” — Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier
Photo Copyright Annette Marie Hyder
Remember the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, how in that story a boy’s love for his favorite toy, a velveteen rabbit, brought it to life while concomitantly wearing it down and making it shabby? In The Velveteen Rabbit, the toy is loved so much that it becomes real even as it loses its soft velvet fur and the pink of its nose, as its whiskers fall out and the stuffing gets lumpy from so much hugging.
Books, similarly, can, if they are loved, come to life — even if they are loved by only one reader. Imagine a book like Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés‘ Women Who Run With the Wolves and how many lives it has touched, how it continues to do so, and how it sings through its readers’ lives in their thoughts and consequent actions.
The book in the photo above is my copy of Women Who Run With the Wolves, dog-eared but alive, in the way that it continues to influence me, and much loved. It makes me happy that my 17-year-old daughter is now reading this book full of
wisdom, myths, and stories about the wild woman
archetype. Second generation love for this book!
Photography by Ryan McGinley
healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life
force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving.” Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves. Quote and photo via Ravenous Butterflies.
Links of interest:
Digital archive of The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
AfterMidnightWriter: Underground Writings of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Facing Feminism: Feminists I Know
My mom, Audrey Ann Ruff. Photo Copyright Audrey Ann Ruff
The Doll On the Cake
By Annette Marie Hyder
(Mother’s Day 2013)
She stands on the top tier
of the cake of my heart
like a little doll,
like a dark haired curvy Barbie
tippy-toed, hand on hip, and head tilted.
She’s the master baker who put so much
of herself into the making and baking
that she is really a part of all she made
not just an ornament (but that too)
but something fundamental
that just happens to look good
decorating a cake and without whom
there would have been no baking done.
She is baker and batter and ornament
all rolled into one. She is the one who,
like Tita in Like Water for Chocolate,
put so much of herself in the making and shaping
over the years — tears and laughter —
moonlight in graveyards and sunlight on roses —
that she has both created and become, in a way,
her own masterpiece(s).
Did you know that a mother carries with her,
forever, a part of the DNA of the children she has carried?
And we also carry our mothers with us. Or maybe it is more
of a mutual connection like hand-holding that allows us to match our steps
in ways that cannot be explained by any other means
than the secret art of metaphorical baking,
Happy Mother’s Day!
Two links of interest and one awesome quote:
There’s someone else’s cells in my body: Our Selves, Other Cells at boingboing.net.
Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living In Mother’s Brains article at Scientific America.
“A mother, then, is forever a cellular chimera…”
There are the stimuli of attachment that we know of, and those that
slip in unsung & unknowable. Years after a woman has delivered a
child, she continues to carry [fetal cells] of that child in her body.
A mother, then, is forever a cellular chimera, a blend of the body she was born with, and of all the bodies she has borne. — Natalie Angier, Woman, An Intimate Geography
Jazzy’s been sick for the past couple of days with the flu. She just started feeling better this morning. With fat flurries swirling outside and the curtains of the sky drawn closed with the heavy draperies of snow, it was a cold and dark winter morning.
So I made chocolate chip pancakes for her for breakfast. Yes, they did add a warm glow to the morning. Or was that just my happiness that she is feeling better? They were so good we decided to have them again for dinner.
Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday and in keeping with her birthday request, I didn’t blog yesterday or do much of anything but pay attention, undivided attention, to her. In doing so, I not only gave Jasmine what she wanted but gifted myself as well, with the unmitigated joy of being present in the moment with her to enjoy her scintillating presence and marvel at the beauty that she possesses — inside and out.
So, I didn’t get to post it yesterday but nothing’s stopping me today from saying on my blog:
Happy Birthday to the most beautiful girl in the world!
Link to Jasmine’s poem.