Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Yesterday I had one of those I-can't-do-this days. We moms get'em every once in a while. Maybe they correlate to hormones (our own or those of our offspring), or to the weather, or the season, or how much exercise we (or our children) are getting, or to some grand pattern in the universe that's beyond our ken. For me, February is particularly bad.
When my mood heads south, it's time to learn something new. According to Wikipedia, this month gets its name comes from the Latin februum, which means purification. Maybe all the gloom and rain is purgatorial in some way? My forebears the Anglo-Saxons called it Sol-monath (mud month) and Kale-monath (after cabbage), which resonates more with my emotional experience. Though I do like cabbage. In moderation.

The Finns, for whom February is apparently better than other parts of winter, focus on the beauty of the month. They call it "month of the pearl", after the the frozen droplets of water that shine on the branches of trees.

The technical, linguistic term for why we don't pronounce both r's in February is dissimilation. This is different than dissimulation, which is deception. February dissimulates by getting you to believe it's not really possible to be a good mother, that your children are going to drive you nuts, that your job stinks, you made a huge mistake about ________, and it's never going to get any better.

But for years I've maintained that the surest proof that God exists -- and that He's merciful -- is that even the worst day comes to an end. I suppose this is true for months, too. We're almost there.

1 comment:

  1. Well, that just confirms my already deep suspicion that one member of our family thinks she's an honorary Finn. She's run an all-out propaganda campaign for cold weather this year. I suspect it's all the Sibelius she's listening to. And the winter sports.

    As for the rest of us, we can dream of May! Sorry you had a tough day yesterday. The weather *is* awfully miserable this week.


    P.S. Also, as a more-or-less seasonal eater, I love the fact that there's a month named for kale!