When Dr. Rhoda Arrindell’s children were 11 and 4, they prepared a plate of food for their hardworking mother to come home to. It was inedible, but Rhoda smiled and I am sure you just did too. Our mothers are our rock, guide and fuel and it’s hard not to want to impress them.
There is just something extra special about our St. Martin mothers, primarily because they belong to us. They've taught us age old Caribbean and spiritual morals, fed us Johnny cakes, puddings and tarts, showed up with the offering of their voice to soothe our college woes.
Like Marguerite Josephine Tyrell, they wrap their arms around us, recreating the safety of their nine-month womb, giving us the liberty to cleanse our souls and be reborn. They are beautiful women, women of resilience and exquisite skills: Carline Arrindell-Cox, who endowed with the gifts of adaptability and genuine hospitality, ushered and planted her family into St. Martin soil. They are gatherers and kitchen queens like Antonine Groeneveldt, whose fingers are agile with our so-good traditional foods. These precious women carry the art of St. Martin culture in their very being, like Sylvina Gumbs, who gave herself to theatre and brought our stories to life on stage.
Not all are in the lime light. They might be like Angeline van Heyningen-Artsen, a quiet, unseen pillar in the St. Martin community, but don’t be fool. These women are selfless and committed to the most important element of our community. They are committed to family and its expansion. They make equally awesome grandmothers like Eris Williams who read her bible while her daughter pressed through each contraction. Her daughter remembers the beautiful atmosphere of peace in birthing room, and having her mother close by to herald in the arrival of twin girls.
We need them, love them, are often inspired by them. We make them angry enough to perfume our St. Martin air with a concoction of languages and dialects. They are our mothers, Soualigan queens to which we express our gratitude twice, two Sundays in the month of May (You just got to love this about St. Martin).
As for me, what would I want my mother to know right now? Oh Mommy! Dorita Ward, educator to decades of St. Martin children, bisous, I love you.
What would you want your mother to know right now?
Read more about our St. Martin Mothers as told by their daughters. Thank you ladies for sharing your stories. Have an enjoyable Mother's Day!
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Hello, I'm Rochelle, curator of saltfish & Lace, a St.Martin lifestyle blog that oozes with the sticky sweet love for the written and spoken word, natural Caribbean living and of course, natural hair.