Mairi Moon, Woman With Wings

My son, Xaq, gave me this Blog for Christmas in 2003. He wrote at the top of the opening page, "You are my favorite mommy, and I think the entire internet should know just how cool you are. So here is your very own blog, so you can spread your love like peanut butter. Not too much peanut butter, though. I like jelly better." So this is me, Mairi Moon, Woman With Wings, spreading my love like peanut butter, with lots of jelly.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Linking Things Up...

Well, it has been about a year since my last post, and I don't know why I suddenly feel like posting again, but here I am. My wonderful son, Zack, who gave me this blog for Christmas, 2003, and who, by the way, is spelling his name "XAQ" these days, just had a wonderful little epiphany that warmed my heart so much that I want to share it here.

Ever since he was little, Zack, er, I mean, XAQ, has been seeing a bumper sticker on my car--and hearing me quote it everywhere--that reads "If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy." This is far and away my favorite bumper sticker, and has, in fact, now that I think of it, been mentioned in this blog at least a couple of times before! Anyway, more recently--way, a couple of years ago--I pasted on another bumper sticker that reads, "Peace On Earth Begins With Birth." So, just now I was sitting across from Za, um, XAQ, he at my computer, and I at mine, and he was asking me what I was going to name the novel I am writing for National Novel Writing Month ( it out!!), and I told him I thought I would call it If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy. He stared at me blankly for a long moment, and I said, "what, you don't like it?" and he said, slowly, "'s not that...I just realized something about your bumper stickers...I just realized that Peace On Earth Begins With Birth and If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy actually mean the same thing!" I am so proud of my boy! He went on to elaborate that not only do they mean the same thing on a personal level, and on a global human level, but even in terms of Mother Earth being the Mama in question! Oh, my goddess, does this mean I actually did something right as a Mom? I have a 17-year-old son who actually GETS IT!! Sigh...

Of course, I also have a 15-year-old daughter, a 12-year-old son, and a 10-year-old daughter who still have to survive their adolescences as my children, so the jury is still out. And even the 17-year-old who gets it has yet to prove he can survive on his own, which is, after all, the true test of our success as parents, is it not? This is a very difficult concept for me, since I have been having anticipatory empty-nest syndrome since he was about 3 weeks old. I remember tearing my gaze away from the cherubic nursling at my breast and looking up at my husband with tears in my eyes, and moaning, "he's just going to grow up and leave!"

Which brings me to what is really going on with me tonight, which is that I have a terrible case of homocidal-suicidal PMS. This is my one perimenopausal symptom, but it is a doozy, and there is actually really no excuse for it, because I know for a fact that I can prevent it entirely by taking Evening Primrose Oil, but--Oh, yeah, I do have one other perimenopausal symptom: I forget stuff--I keep forgetting to take it! Anyway, one thing that relieves this terrible feeling is the universal panacea (isn't that redundant?): CHOCOLATE.

Just a few minutes ago, my enabler-husband said, from a safe distance across the room, "why don't I go out and get you a little treat?" "You WANT me to be fat," I whined. "No, I don't," he replied amiably, "but you're about to get your period and I know it makes you feel better." I admitted that I have been craving a Toblerone bar, but haven't been able to find them in any stores nearby lately. This brilliant man then said, "Maybe you could find a Toblerone locator on the internet..." Well, I googled "Toblerone locator" and GUESS WHAT?? Yeah, go to It works!! ARGHH! Except he just called from the store located by the locator, and they don't have it!! And now here comes XAQ, and he still hasn't finished his homework. My life is torture! WAH!!!

Okay. I am taking a deep breath. I will go and tuck in my other children, and come back and hound XAQ until he is done. I'll be OK. I will survive. David is bringing After Eight Chocolate Mint Wafers. Everything will be fine. Really.

So, this is me, Mairi Moon, Woman With Wings, hanging on by the skin of my teeth until I start bleeding or my brain explodes, whichever comes first!

Monday, November 15, 2004

It's All For the Breast...

OK, I have to tell a great story: Sarah (14) came home and complained that her science teacher was telling her class that she breastfed her child until he was almost 4 years old, and that the class thought that was really gross, and that she wracked her brain for some breastfeeding info and was able to come up with, "well, breastfeeding helps prevent breast cancer, and it makes the baby really smart," but was frustrated that she couldn't come up with more factoids. I said, "well, honey, if you like you can tell your teacher that your mom is a midwife, and would be glad to come and tell the class about the benefits of human milk for 10 or 15 mintues," to which she replied, "yeah, Mom, no thanks, I'd like not to kill my social life." I started to protest that breastfeeding was important, and the pharmaceutical-company-led media discourage it, etc., and she said, "Mom, you don't need to worry about me..." and I said, "I don't?" and she said, "No, Mom, I'm gonna nurse my babies until they say, 'Mother, please, get your freakin' boob out of my face!"

I'm just so proud of my baby! Just goes to show you...they do what you do, and sometimes what you say, too!

So this is me, Mairi Moon, woman with wings, trying not to think of my fourteen-year-old having babies, but being comforted by the fact that when she does, she will feed her baby nature's best, reduce her chance of breast cancer, and make her baby smarter!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Creation Energy

A (fabulous) writer on a listserve I belong to recently lamented that she has no energy for writing now that she is nearing the end of her pregnancy, and that got me to thinking...I think that all our creation energy comes from the same inner well, whether we use it for writing or painting or composing or gestating. When one is making a baby inside one's body, I would say that for most people that bigger-than-we-can-even-imagine act of creation uses up just about the whole pool of creation energy most of us have. So, when one is busy being the vessel for the creation of a brand new human being, I think one can forgive oneself if one doesn't have anything left over for something as mundane as putting words on paper! Don't get me wrong--I am not denigrating writing--it's just that the act of writing and the act of producing a baby seem to me to be on two entirely different scales. Unless, of course, you're someone like Doris Lessing. But... you notice how many children she had...

On an entirely different note: now that my children range in age from 8 to 15, and I am looking back on my own pregnancies from afar, knowing there will be no more, I have only one regret, and that is that I didn't realize how special, and how fleeting, that time was. I was raised by a mom who encouraged me to reach for the stars, do whatever I wanted to do, and not to "let having children get in the way," so I think I was determined to show that I wouldn't be slowed down by pregnancy. I even remember this experience, during my first pregnancy when I was still teaching dance at a private girls' school: I was 8 months pregnant, going up a long flight of steps from the cafeteria toward the dance rooms, and when I became aware that a gaggle of teachers at the bottom of the stairs were watching me go up, I started taking the stairs two at a time just to show how not-slowed-down I was!!

Anyway, I now wish I had spent more time just gestating--just sitting in a rocking chair, staring out the window, luxuriating in feeling slow and fat and stupid, relishing this amazing, miraculous thing happening inside me. If I had it to do again, I would sit back, close my eyes, and visualize the formation of each eyelash, each thigh fold, each rosebud lip. I would wrap my arms around my big ripe belly and cradle that tiny ocean, and imagine the beautiful creature swimming in it, and cherish the time when I could actually hope to keep my child safe from this crazy world, protected by my bones and muscle, nourished by my blood, soothed by the music of my heartbeat.

Jeez, I'm getting myself all choked up here.

Any of you out there lucky enough to be growing a baby: Cling to it, cherish it, ENJOY!!

So this is me, Mairi Moon, woman with wings, looking back with love, and that good old 20/20 hindsight.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Okay, this was not a stellar day in the "If Mama Ain't Happy Ain't Nobody Happy" campaign. I got up this morning and my baby Michael (yeah, he's 10, but he's sick, so therefore he is my baby...) was asleep, having had a fever and sore throat during the night. David had to leave at 7am for a shoot for the History Channel, so I had to get Emma up and get her ready for school, and drive with her to the pharmacy, pick up a Rx for Michael, bring it back home to him, take her to school, and then try to get to work on time (good luck!). While on my way to work, Michael woke up and called me on my cell phone, and my little usually-tough guy sounded so weak and pitiful, that I just wanted to go right home and hold him and make him some tea and pull him into my bed and watch Nickolodeon with him. BUT...I had to go to work. There were three schedules worth of patients coming, and only two midwives (including me) because of an administrative screw-up (not mine), and I just didn't feel like I could do it to the patients or my fellow-midwife. So I went to work, and kept saying, "I'll see just one more person, and then I have GOT to go home and take care of Michael," and he kept calling me and saying things like "I want my mommy," which he hasn't said for years, and I kept not going. So, now it is the end of the day. I FINALLY came home, fed him, and held him until he fell asleep. Poor baby. Now, you might ask, what would have made Mama happy? What would have made me happy is to have been a Mama today. My whole heart wanted to be there--well, clearly not my WHOLE heart, because I wanted to take care of those women, and my fellow midwife, too. But isn't that just ego? Couldn't someone else have dealt with the fallout of my leaving? What if I had just DONE WHAT I WANTED and gone home to my baby? Would they have remembered it a month from now? No. But Michael might have. Instead, he might remember that he was sick and his mom wasn't there. I know I will. Boo. I fail. Not because I wasn't there for Michael, but because I didn't listen to the inner voice telling me to do what I WANT. I am not saying this to berate or punish myself. I am simply acknowledging to myself that I did NOT follow the program. However...tomorrow will be better.

So this is me, Mairi Moon, woman with wings, planning to stay home tomorrow NO MATTER WHAT!

I'm Baaa-aaack!

Okay, I really didn't forget that I have a blog. I just got so unbelievably busy that I never thought about posting when I actually had access, or the energy, to write something. What have I been so busy doing? Well, babies, Spring Festival, babies, Sarah's 14th birthday, babies, mystery school, babies, babies, and babies! I have had to come to some very hard decisions lately. I thought that beginning mystery school might push me to shift my priorities, because it is a calling I feel, one that calls me to rearrange my other activities to accommodate my dreams and desires, rather than to accommodate the seeming hordes of people who would be happy to have me arrange my life around their priorities. I say this without bitterness--after all, who would not like someone to concentrate on taking care of them and their priorities? Why wouldn't my children enjoy having their mother put their desires first? Why wouldn't my husband enjoy having me put him ahead of work, children, or friends? Why wouldn't my spiritual community like me to be available anytime they need some music directed or a dance choreographed? Why wouldn't the birth center enjoy having me be available for births 24/7? What I need to believe is that, in the end, they would ALL benefit from me setting my priorities in a way that makes ME happy, because if I come to my work, my family, my spiritual community with joy and love, and without resentment and martyrdom, it will be more wonderful for them, too! For years I've been telling my clients to insist that their partners give them the time and space they need to follow their dreams and have some down time, telling them, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" I need to start acting on my own advice! I really do believe that is true. I really do believe my own words when I hear my voice saying to them, "really, taking care of yourself is NOT self-indulgent; it is a way for you to be the very best mama you can be." I just keep forgetting that it applies to me, too! Well, here's to remembering--not my strong suit, but I'll do my best!

So this is me, Mairi Moon, woman with wings, resolving to practice what I preach.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Janet Jackson's Breast: The Irony of Righteous Indignation

OK, I just have to rant and rave here a little: Who do these TV people think they are? Do they really believe that their righteous indignation over the ACCIDENTAL baring of Janet Jackson's breast is believeable? Are we to believe that they did not KNOW that Janet Jackson makes lewd, hyper-sexual, almost pornographic music videos? Were they just Oh-So-Shocked to find that she was not Marie Osmond? And what about the Grammys?? They fired Janet Jackson, but gave the mega-spotlight to Justin Timberlake? Just who was it that bared Janet's breast? Was it Janet? NO!! It was the innocent MAN in their little S&M routine run amok! Then, THEN, after they've banned Janet from the ceremonies for baring hers, we got to see a parade of OTHER half-naked women come to the podium! One of them even said, "Gee, I hope what happened to Janet doesn't happen to me..." To what was she referring, I wonder? Did she hope her boob didn't fall out of her costume (not likely, since she was holding on to them for dear life the whole time), or did she mean she hoped she wouldn't be ostracized for doing, at the wrong moment, what everyone else in the pop music industry has been doing for over a decade, at other moments that are somehow OK?

For some reason, it makes me flash back to an incident that occurred when my third baby was four months old, and I was nursing him under the table, under my shirt, in a restaurant. Now, I always sort of wished I would get accosted for breastfeeding in public, so that I could be the Teminator-Mama of the breastfeeding world. I imagined things like, a waitress tells me to feed the baby in the bathroom, and I indignantly climb up and stand on the table, calling the attention of everyone in my vicinity, waving my chubby-cheeked baby like a banner of granola-mom-hood, and say, "Would YOU like to eat YOUR lunch in the bathroom?!?" Well, interestingly enough, when it actually happened to me, I was mortified, and wanted to crawl under the table, not stand on it--I just wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. It didn't feel political, it felt PERSONAL, and extremely embarrassing. My husband, bless his heart, had been sufficiently indoctrinated by yours truly, that HE got to his feet and demanded in a loud voice to see the manager, proclaiming for all to hear that "this is the MOST beautiful thing a woman can do, and this is what breasts are FOR, and what could be more natural that feeding a baby at lunch?" I just pleaded with him, "please, honey, please just get the car and let's get out of here." In other words, I totally wimped out. This is the final irony, though: As I stood on the sidewalk waiting for him to bring the car around, a Metrobus drove by, bearing on its side a BUS-LENGTH picture of a woman wearing a G-String, her beautiful round breasts wearing nothing but specks of exhaust from the traffic.

It also reminds me of something else, which became a very funny family story and was passed around for years: When my family went to visit my marvelous folksinging family of aunt, uncle, and cousins in Chicago one year around Christmas, when I was about 14 years old, we went to see this family in a production of St. George and the Dragon. We loved visiting these cousins, because we were wakened every morning by bagpipes, and every night there was a singing party with more instruments than I even knew existed, and so many harmonies, oh, it was just grand. Also, their whole attic was filled with trunks and boxes overflowing with costumes of every imaginable period, so that we spent endless hours dressing up and putting on plays. So, it was in some of these very costumes that they were telling the ageless tale of St. George (who I always figured was named after my Uncle George) and the Dragon. As we were watching this fun play, my 15-year-old cousin stepped forward in a green satin dress with hoop skirt, cinched waist and push-up bodice, to deliver a pithy monolog with many dramatic gesticulations, ending in a deep curtsy. As she bent forward, one of her rosy pink breasts flopped out the top of the bodice. Gasp! It popped out as she bent over, and just as quickly, as she stood up, she popped it right back in. There was the briefest of murmurs through the audience, and then the moment passed and the play proceeded. And it wasn't even on Entertainment Tonight that night! I guess that means the audience at that Family-Centered production of St. George and the Dragon at New Trier High School in Wilmette Illinois was more sensible and mature than the millions of people who gasped, swooned, and said, "ooooohhh....I SAW YOUR BOOBY!!!"

So here is what I say to Janet Jackson: Don't let the hypocrites get you down, girl. You have beautiful breasts (are they real?), and as far as I'm concerned, you can flap them around anywhere you want. I'd rather have my children see your breasts naked and beautiful in all their glory, than surrounded by the sleaze of a red lace brassiere.

Let's hear it for BOOBS--on the count of three, let's flash 'em, girls!! (except for that one in the White House--let's leave him covered up!)

So this is me, Mairi Moon, woman with wings, sitting bare-chested at my computer, feeling the evening breeze on my areolae, which exist so that my babies could eat the food intended for them by Mother Nature Herself.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The Other Memorable New Year's Eve

All this time later, I am now going to tell you about the other memorable New Year's Eve.

My husband and I got married in September of '86, two weeks before my parents moved to Mexico City (my stepmother was in the foreign service and was sent there for two years). So, as a wedding present they gave us round trip tickets to Mexico City. At time, it was only $40 round trip from Mexico City to Acapulco, so we decided to visit my parents for a week, and then go to Acapulco for a week for our honeymoon. However, life being what it is, we couldn't get away until Christmas, which was OK, because it meant we got to spend Christmas with my folks, which was fun. There apartment was absolutely incredible. Their guest bathroom was as big as the living room in the apartment David and I were living in at the time. The shower was so huge that he was able to step into it and take a picture of me (neck up!) without getting a drop of water on himself!

But, this is not about Christmas in Mexico City--this is about New Year's Eve in Acapulco!

So, we arrived in Acapulco a couple of days before New Year's Eve, on a puddle jumper that seemed as safe as a 747 once we compared it to the mini-bus that took us from the airport to the hotel, careening around mountain passes on two wheels. When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted with sweet alcoholic drinks in coconuts with little umbrellas sticking out of them, which made us feel much better about everything--not instantly, but within a very few minutes! We checked into our room and set out to explore our surroundings, and one of our goals was to scope out a place to spend New Year's Eve. This was an amazing hotel. It had a thatched-roof seafood restaurant on stilts above the ocean, with a live mariachi band. It had a swimming pool so large that it had an island in the middle of it. The island contained a bar that you could swim up to and sit on stone stools under the water, with your elbows on the bar above the water. There, with the cool water lapping at your waist and the warm sun on your back, you could order a pina colada and watch the bartender hack open a fresh coconut and a fresh pineapple, throw chunks of each in a blender with some ice, and whip up the most heavenly drink you ever tasted. It didn't even really need the shot of alcohol, but what the heck--this is vacation! There was a spa, outside, enclosed in rattan partitions, so that you could have a full body massage (for $22!) while listening to the surf nearby and the mariachi band in the distance, smelling the sea salt in the air, feeling whispery little breezes dance across your skin. You could have one of those pedicures with the little mini-whirlpool bath and the foot massage for $8. But the piece de resistance, for our particular purposes, what the restaurant on the very top of the hotel. This was an elegant, plush, spacious restaurant with white linen and pewter appointments, with a jasmine-scented candle floating in a crystal bowl on each table, with a live band playing gentle jazz. We thought about scouting around outside the hotel, but when we peeked in and saw this, we decided just to stay "in" and eat there on New Year's Eve. We were also told that there would be an area cleared for dancing, and so special festivities. So, I bought a little black dress in the hotel boutique (for pennies!), and we arrived at the appointed hour of 8 o'clock for dinner. We were seated at a two-top which was beautifully set with white china, and on top of each plate there were a noisemaker, a mask, a party hat, and one of those little bottle-popper thingies that you sort of fling without letting go, and a cap goes off loudly as streamers fly out of the fat end of the bottle. It was a price fixe menu, so we were relieved of the burden of deciding what to eat, and just sat there as course after course of delicious food arrived (nouvelle French cuisine--you know, each thing is like two bites in the middle of a huge plate, but so beautiful that you forget you are not getting full), with wine in between. Each course was served by two tuxedo-clad waiters who brought us each a silver-domed plate, and, after an expectantly still moment, lifted the domes, et voila! I am a foreign service brat, and I have attended many an even for visiting heads of state, ambassadors, and other dignitaries, but I have never had such a truly decadent experience. We ate, drank, danced, we had our picture taken by a roving photographer (with masks and hats!), until almost midnight, when things started to get a little more raucous. People began to pick up their noisemakers and blow on them. Champagne was poured. The band got a little less mellow. Then, at one minute to midnight, the vocalist began to lead a countdown, and as he did so, to our utter astonishment, the tiny white lights in the room were extinguished and the roof of the hotel began to roll back, so that by about 20 seconds before midnight the ceiling was replaced with a canopy of stars around a fat yellow waxing moon, in a blue-black sky. The collective gasp was audible, but was quickly drowned out by cheers and exploding little popper bottles which shot streamers into the air as 1987 entered in.

Yeah...That was a great New Year's Eve, too! Even better than the other one, because the guy really WAS a keeper!

So that's me, Mairi Moon, woman with wings, waxing rhapsodic about my honeymoon, 17 years later!

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

New Year's Eve and Family Tradition

When I was a wild and crazy young woman...ok, I was never a wild and crazy young woman...but when I was a young woman, and thought about being wild and crazy, I used to go out on New Year's Eve. I would go to a party, or go out dancing with a friend, or just go out carousing in one way or another. Two New Year's Eves stand out in my New Year's Eve memory archives. The first was spent at a French restaurant called Daphne's, in London, with the only man I had ever dated, up to that point, who had any sense of style and elegance. Up until then, the men/boys I had chosen ran along the lines of scuffed shitkickers, worn jeans, flannel shirts, and scraggly hair framing a beautiful boyish face. This guy, though, was a real GQ specimen, complete with Italian shoes and a very nice, barely-there cologne. This guy blew his hair dry before this date, for God's sake. He knew about wines that came in bottles with corks--he even knew the difference between them! And, he knew how to dance. My previous boyfriends were all the type that sat and watched at weddings, looking trapped and uncomfortable, as if they feared at any moment Aunt Sophie might force them into a rhumba. Not this guy. This guy would walk over to Aunt Sophie and ask her to dance, and she would beam at him and wink over his shoulder at me and mouth the words, "this one is a keeper!"

At any rate, this guy--we'll call him Kevin, since that is, in fact, his name--was Mr. Suave and Debonair. Now, understand, as the daughter of a diplomat, I was raised to know how to dress for a nice restaurant, and what a few different wines were, and how to comport myself at table. I just hadn't found it useful to reveal all this to my previous beaux. For years, I think I feared that if I revealed my cosmopolitan background I would risk rejection from my hippie friends. When I met Kevin, he instantly recognized that part of me, and it was that part of me that attracted him.

So, here we were at Daphne's elegantly attired, eating fine food and drinking fine wine, and toasting the new year. It was great. I felt like a real grown-up. It was almost possible to forget that, a month earlier, he had picked up a girl at a party at MY house and taken her home to his bed, the scoundrel. Almost, but not quite. We went to Paris for a week after that, and it was lovely, but when we came back to the U.S. things gradually fell apart, as I was unable to forget and forgive, and he was unable to care very much whether I did or not.

But it was a GREAT New Year's Eve.

My children are crawling all over me now, so I'll have to tell about the other memorable New Year's Eve later.

So that's me, Mairi Moon, woman with wings, stopping in the middle of what I'm doing to do something else, as usual.