21 May 2015

The Apostrophe Question

I always wonder where the apostrophe should go: inside the word or next to it.

Inside implies one mother.
Perhaps it means “motherhood’s day”
(but that didn't fit as nicely on the sign).
Maybe it means a more personal mother:
the day to remember and honor your specific mother.

But, everyone has more than one mother.
On a biological note, all mothers have mothers;
it’s mothers all the way down.

Then there are the surrogates:
teachers, friends, spiritual leaders, aunts.
Anyone that helps a person grow.

Outside makes it plural possessive.
The day of many mothers,
the day of any and all mothers,
the day of celebrating nurturing itself,
and Mother Nature itself
(another mother we all have).

These days, I wonder where I should go: inside the group or next to it.

I am between maiden and mother spiritually.
I am fairly old or still quite young,
depending on culture, time, and personal opinion.

I did not yet feel motherly or mom-like
(more like a still-developing proto-mom)
when I experienced miscarriage.

I don’t much feel like I lost a child,
more like a particular vision of the future --
a (now alternate) reality to which I’d become accustomed,
and of which I was growing quite fond.

But I wanted it,
I was preparing for it,
and I had (nearly) accepted it as part of my identity.

I’m caught between alternate versions of being.

The apostrophe and me - in or out?

The answer feels ambiguous at best.

Because I wonder about this every time I type Mother's Day, I have researched it. Officially, the apostrophe goes before the s. Here’s the brief wikipedia explanation.


  1. Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!

  2. Really, the official version is "Mother's Day"? When I read it with a Victorian affectation in my brain, it makes sense, as I feel older texts (prior to the 60s, maybe?) often reference "mother" as a character or figure, especially in first person. As in, "you know which mother I'm talking about, the person whose name is Mother." So "Mother's Day" is really like saying, "My Mother's Day", but you're right, that's not very inclusive, is it?

    I remember reading a sentence in high school about how the state between maiden and mother can be confusing...but you seem to be handling it well ;)

    1. Thank you; that is a lovely compliment. I considered another piece for this year, but after looking back at it, this one still felt right.