We have no real time-honored traditions around Mother's Day in our house. I'm not really one much for flowers. My houseplant curse carries over to cut bouquets; anything green in my care will die a natural death within hours--unless the cat gets to it first. And breakfast in bed, while glamorous in theory, ends up with crumbs, and then ants in places they shouldn't be. If the weather is nice (which I am not counting on this spring), biking over to the east side for a Lazy Jane's scone is sweet, and a handmade card even sweeter. But other than that, a day of lazy nothing sounds pretty darn good to celebrate my maternal status.
But this particular Mother's Day there's an intriguing performance going on in Madison that could inspire me to experience Mother's Day in a whole new way. The first is the back-by-popular-demand LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER show at the Barrymore. The brainchild of Madison-based "stay-at-home" humorist Ann Imig, LTYM features live readings by local writers, primarily the kind that publish on-line, musing on "the beauty, the beast, and the barely-rested of motherhood."
By all accounts last years inaugural event was more than just a well-executed series of live readings. It was akin to a spiritual event--a revival of sorts--bringing amazingly talented women together to tell their stories, both happy and haunting, of the divergent paths of motherhood. Two friends of mine, both of whose writing I tremendously admire, took the stage last year and claimed the experience was transformative for both the performers and audience alike. This year, LTYM is taking it on the road with locally produced shows in new cities including Austin and Los Angeles. But the concept was born in Madtown, and with such talented Wisconsin women as Deb Nies, Elizabeth Katt-Reinders , and Sara Santiago participating at the 3 PM Mother's Day event, I have no doubt this is a perfect opportunity for mamas in Madison to take second-Sunday-in-May celebrations to a whole new level.
Twenty area high schools students"Jewish, Christian and Muslim"are the focus of the second show. While teens won't always listen to their mother, these kids have gotten the opportunity to "listen to the other" in a unique semester-long program launched by the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions (a UW-Madison initiative and my employer). Called the "Courage Project", this is LISAR's first program involving area youth. In the Mother's Day final performance you'll witness these kids sharing experiences of personal courage and burgeoning interfaith friendships through original poetry, interpretive dance and song.Rohany Nayan, LISAR's Graduate Fellow has developed something pretty special with this program. She, a Muslim, along with Cantor Debbie Martin of Temple Beth El and Pastor Katie Baardseth of Midvale Lutheran have created a program that trains teens to develop the courage necessary to work through stereotypes about others and to communicate honestly with each other about their personally held beliefs. Oh, and all three are moms. I guess that should come as no surprise.
Hopefully my oldest can get involved in next year's incarnation. I can't think of a better Mother's Day present he could give me than new, unexpected friends and broadened social and intellectual horizons. Oh, and of course the chance of course to see him on stage. Gypsy Rose Lee's mom had nothing on me.
Sure, sleeping in and a manicure rarely disappoint, but both of these Sunday afternoon performances sound like pretty satisfying ways to spend Mother's Day.
And there's always time for a Lazy Jane's scone beforehand.comments powered by Disqus
Last week, in response to the county-wide Sleep Safe, Sleep Well public health campaign that encourages parents to "share the room, not the bed" with their sleeping infants, Isthmus contributor Ruth Conniff penned a lovely opinion piece in defense of bed sharing entitled "Confessions of a Co-Sleeper."
As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world.
Seeing Romeo and Juliet this past weekend was a definite reminder that I need to prepare for something that might resemble a (Near) West Side Story around our place pretty soon.
All during childhood, we calmly tell our kids they don't need to be afraid of the dark, thunder or the monster under the bed. But it's pretty hard to keep your parental cool when your kid is about to embark on the one thing that terrifies you. I knew the problem wasn't really with him. It was with me.
Last January, when temperatures dipped below minus 30 and most people between the ages of 16 and 24 did anything to stay inside, a small yet sturdy group of at-risk teenage boys and young men stacked wood and managed controlled burns at Festge County Park near Cross Plains. Five months later, following a temperature swing of more than 100 degrees, Isthmus found some of those same guys removing invasive honeysuckle and buckthorn at Lake View Hill County Park on Madison's north side.
The first week of summer break at our place usually comes and goes without incident. At times, one could argue, it even verges on pleasant. I have no school lunches to pack and the kids have no 7 a.m. buses to catch.
Have you tried getting anywhere on either Verona Road or East Johnson lately? I'm pretty sure a six-month old could crawl to Fitchburg, or across the isthmus, in less time that it takes me to drive there these days.
As soon as the door closed behind him, I poured myself a cup of the coffee he had made and took a moment to let the enormity of what just happened sink in. My son was ready that morning despite my inability to properly set an alarm clock. My kid was ready that morning without nudging, cajoling, or reminding. He was ready, even when I wasn't.
For the past 17 years or so (i.e., since I've had kids), I haven't made books the priority in my life I know they should be. It's not that I don't try. Just this past weekend I had the best of intentions of picking up, and even finishing, I am Malala, this year's UW-Madison's Go Big Read pick. But the copy still sits untouched on my nightstand.
The longest day of the year is upon us. For those of you keeping track, the sun will rise at 5:18 a.m. and set at 8:41 p.m. on Saturday, June 21. All that daylight, courtesy of the annual summer solstice, will provide the perfect backdrop for Make Music Madison, a daylong event featuring hours and hours of free performances in nearly every corner of the city.
Last week, for the first time, I made my way up to one of the open gallery nights during Madison West's Fine Arts Week, the school's annual showcase for all things creative. The scope of the event is huge, with nearly 1,600 students participating, and the quality of the presented works is phenomenal. It's almost as if the school had been lifted off its perch on Regent Street and traveled back in time to Belle Époque Paris.
If you have aspiring authors in your house, this summer offers a fabulous opportunity for them refine their writing skills. For its second summer, the Greater Madison Writing Project, in partnership with Olbrich Botanical Gardens, is sponsoring two week-long camps in August for young writers entering grades 3-8.
There are lots of benefits to living in a college town. First and foremost, there is always something going on -- a lecture, a film series. Maybe even a protest, if you're lucky. And since becoming a Madisonian, I, for the first time in my life, find myself interested in college football.
My passion for the talent show clearly runs deep, but I'm more than just a fangirl. This year marked my second as one of the "Ziegfelds" of the Follies, Hamilton's annual showcase for singers, musicians, dancers and other varied forms of entertainment. Trust me, when you are part of the spectacle's "producing/directing" team you get a new-found appreciation for how hard the kids worked to get up on stage.
My daughter, who turned twelve just this past week, is not legally "of age" when it comes to social media. But I guess, in many respects, especially in those that involve screens, I am a permissive pushover. I've allowed her join some networks.
What adults love about camping -- sleeping under the stars, getting away from it all, the sounds of nature -- can be scary for children. It's dark in a tent. Nothing is familiar. Of course, camping with kids is more work for adults, too. Stay cool, live in the moment. Forget about that lost fork. Making s'mores, spotting wildlife, that's what kids will remember.
I have just returned from a whirlwind, five-day, four-city college tour with my son. You know those "101 Things to Know Before Visiting Disney World" guidebooks that experienced theme park travelers have written to help the uninitiated? I think I am now officially seasoned enough in information sessions and campus tours to give some serious thought to penning a similar "insiders guide" for the junior-year parent.
This past week, against both my will and better judgement, I accompanied 50 or so middle school kids to the Future Problem Solvers Wisconsin State Bowl, a popular academic and skit-writing competition.
It may be a bigger waste of breath than electricity to ask my kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room. If I've nagged them once, I've nagged them a thousand times. No, I've never noticed anything amiss with their fingers. But it appears they are physically incapable of flipping a switch to the "off" position.
I want to say thank you to the Board of Education for allowing Maia to return to class, unquestionably the place she belongs, as well as to thank them for adopting the new policies. But just as importantly, I also want to thank Maia and her family for their willingness to come forward with their story.