Aquinnah: Mother’s Day, town playground, card crafting, and Howes House

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—MV Times

Ah, Mother’s Day. My own mother resented it, saying, “Every day should be a day to honor mothers, and this was only thought up by the people who make greeting cards.” Me? The day makes me grateful (for my children who are still the light of my life, and for my mother and all the wonderful mothers I have known). It also makes me thoughtful about those I know who wanted to be mothers but never could. And I find myself musing about those whose mothering is so difficult due to sickness or poverty or simple exhaustion. And I think of those whose mothers were not a source of comfort and joy, but rather a source of fear or disappointment. The whole mothering business is fraught, that’s for sure. There is so much hype about it, good and bad.

The mothers that I honor are many. Right here in Aquinnah, I can name over a dozen who have braved the pregnancies, braved the birthings, and found the energy to provide years and years of meals and laundry and hugs, not to mention the creativity born of necessity when Halloween costumes are needed. In so many ways, this little spot of land at the end of the Island is a great place to have kids. The children have beaches and sassafras plants and beach roses, and shells to gather, and woods to explore and ponds to investigate. There is room to roam. We have beloved community gatherings like the Christmas potluck, which comes complete with Santa and gifts for every child in town (carefully selected and labeled by name for each one), the Fourth of July parade, lists gathered for parents to know which driveway to go down to help the kids find trick-or-treat for Halloween, the Wampanoag Cranberry Day, and so many more rituals, big and little, along with a library that joyfully welcomes local children by name — all providing a web of community to make our kids feel loved. Here in Aquinnah, families look out for one another, and we all watch the children as they grow. We are so lucky.

But It is difficult too, because most of us here are too far away from others for easy socializing. This makes life particularly frustrating for teenagers, and requires parents to drive their children from here to there for playdates and afterschool activities. We are far from healthcare and far from easy access to takeout foods and laundromats and pharmacies and grocery stores, and most other luxuries whose availability would make life easier.

Having a playground where families could congregate and kids could see their friends would surely help. But we don’t have a real playground here. Which brings me to an important thing. A small and hearty group of moms have been working hard to raise money for us to get that real playground. (I wrote about this in an earlier column, but please forgive my repeat — it’s important.) A good chunk of money has been raised, grants have been received, the land behind our Town Hall has been designated for the purpose, and now they are working on raising $25,000 to get them over the finish line. They hope to actually build the playground this fall. If you are moved to help, please send your donation to the town of Aquinnah, with the word “Playground” on the memo line. (It’s a great way to pay tribute to mothers!). Our kids will be so proud and grateful.

Now, if you still haven’t made a Mother’s Day card for your favorite mom, go to the Aquinnah library on Saturday, May 13, from 11 am to 12:30 pm, where they will be helping people craft cards for just that purpose. While you’re there, check out “Dear Edward,” by Ann Napolitano, and then join the book group on Thursday the 18th at 3 pm to talk about it.

Howes House continues to offer up great things. For example, you can paint with the watercolor painting group at 1 pm on Saturdays. On Wednesday the 17th, there will be a Legal Clinic for Seniors with Conni Baker (RSVP at 508-477-0267). There are also exercise classes, and bridge, and community brown bag lunches, and more. Check it out.

And get up to the Cliffs. Shops are open, the views are stellar, and there is fun to be had.

Birthday greetings go to Marco the cat, who will be honored on May 12, to tennis guru (and dad) Eddie Stahl, who celebrates on May 15, to Leigh Vanderhoop on May 16, and to the wonderful Aquinnah Witham on May 17. (If you care about these folks, tip your hat to their mothers — these celebrations are markers of pretty astonishing days for those moms.)

Take care of yourselves, and go out and soak in the astonishingly beautiful colors of this spring.

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Kathie Olson, aquinnahcolumn@gmail.com.

 

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