Mother and baby
Mother and baby

By Molly Butler

Today I am not a mother, a fact I am often grateful for.

Not in a flippant, yay-free-to-party way. It’s not that I don’t love kids. If one of my niblings figures out the words “I want a pony,” I’ll be fixing up the empty stall. It’s not that I don’t want to nurture. Between the dogs and cats and ducks and lost animals that end up in my care, it feels like that’s all I have ever wanted to do. But motherhood is a huge choice, not just for my lifetime, but for the life of another human being. A choice I have not made. Today I am not a mother, and that sits right with me.

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I have seen what motherhood can do to a person, the way it smashes logic, chips away at time, energy and money, leaving crumbs in the car, ulcers on the stomach, and gray hairs on the head. It is life-changing, earth-shattering. A mother’s love is a terrifying force. I don’t know how they wield it. There is no animal more frightening than the one protecting its offspring. As J.D. Salinger put it, “Mothers are all slightly insane.”

Take my mother, for example. This year, she fought cancer, lost her home to a fire, and, despite it all, grew her successful business. And even in her rock bottoms, she still managed to laugh, to be kind, to be beautiful. She is the most relentless force of optimism, generosity and hope in my universe. It seems impossible, yet there she goes. Insanity. Pure, glorious madness.

A mother’s love is a terrifying force.

And my sister: a fierce mother of three. This year, she went through things that would have broken most people. They would have broken me. But she is surviving, somehow, despite it all. She is ever breaking down and rebuilding, picking up the pieces, day after relentless day, making herself stronger all the time, and I know it is for one reason: a mother’s love. For the sake of her kiddos, nothing is impossible.

No sane person would care for another so much they would give everything, body, mind, soul. No sane person would love so totally. But those who choose motherhood just aren’t quite sane. And I respect the hell out of them.

To my sister, to my mother, and all the dangerous, heartbroken, healing, impossible, unconditional, slightly insane mothers in the world: thank you for a love that could not possibly be paid back. Have a happy Mother’s Day weekend.

Friday

Art lovers are in for a great weekend. This is your last chance to catch Vincent Kenobbie’s work at the 410 Project in Mankato! Stop by from 2-6 p.m. to view some spectacular pieces. Then, Books in Bloom returns to Gustavus Adolphus College. From 3-5 p.m., stop by this FREE event to view spectacular floral arrangements by designers and florists who interpret a book, film or academic resource to be displayed. A perfect outing for book lovers, gardeners and artists!

The Mankato Makerspace invites you to its Paint N Sip class, where you will paint a mushroom house! BYOB, or enjoy the complimentary wine that comes with this $45 class; comfy clothes that can get messy are encouraged. It’s Family Fun Night at North Mankato Taylor Library! Stop by at 6:30 p.m. for Star Wars-themed activities! Dress up as our favorite character, and check out the fun!

Enjoy some live entertainment! The Mankato Playhouse will perform Grease at 7:30 p.m., with showtimes throughout the weekend. Bob Stephan will perform from 6-8:30 p.m. at Indian Island Winery, and you can unWINEd with Matt & Laurel at Chankaska Creek at 6 p.m. Catch Buffalo Alice at Mully’s on Madison at 8:30 p.m. The What’s Up Lounge will host Le Tour De Jantz featuring Jantzonia, Joey Bones, Odd Coal and more, beginning at 9 p.m.

Saturday

Kickstart your Saturday with Nicollet Bike and Ski Shop! Explore 25-40 miles of beautiful back roads on gravel or cyclocross bikes; this Gravel Ride leaves the shop at 7 a.m.! Head to Best Buy for the Mankato Farmers’ Market, with fresh produce and locally made goods and crafts. The North Mankato Taylor Library will host Breakfast Buddies beginning at 10 a.m. Kiddos ages 6-8 are invited to join in for donuts and a sock caterpillar craft! No registration is required.

Pair your Saturday with some wine! Chankaska Creek invites you to a Toast to Women, featuring wine, shopping, food and more! Shop local vendors and see new fashions. VIP tickets are only $20; learn more on their website. Or, head to Indian Island Winery for Sips and Succulents with Brandt Gardens! They’ll be on-site with plants for purchase, including succulents, cacti, herbs, veggies and flowers!

The Circle Inn Stache Bash is back! From 1-9 p.m., stop by for live music, including Nate Boots, Rain Kings and the Murphy Brothers Band. UnWINEd at Chankaska with Ash St. John from 2-5 p.m. The Spoon Cherries will perform 5-8 p.m. at the Mankato Brewery, and Mully’s on Madison will host the Blue Ringers at 8:30 p.m.

Sunday

Discover the Outdoors at the Gustavus Arboretum! From 1-3 p.m., enjoy games and exploration activities, including fly fishing practice, a scavenger hunt, learning duck calls and more! This event is FREE and open to the public. Stick around campus for Gloria, a modern workplace comedy performed at the Rob and Judy Gardener Laboratory Theatre. Grease will be performed at the Mankato Playhouse beginning at 2 p.m. Get your tickets to this or future shows here.

Added Value: Cultivating Hope

It has been another intense and divisive week for our country and world. In modern times, it is tempting to give in to hate, anger and despair. Actively cultivating hope and working to build a loving, patient, understanding community is our only hope of survival. I admire the work of organizations such as Plum Village. Here is a link to their Podcast, The Way Out Is In, in case you are interested in learning more about this work and how to introduce it into your own community or if you simply need a source of hope to refill your cup.

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Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.