Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day! Let’s celebrate all the amazing women out there who are doing so many things effectively, with generosity and caring everyday in this uncommon time!

What do Margréts and Vínarterta have in common?

I had a remarkable experience leading an amazing group of women who came together to support a friend by making and serving food for a reception of 350 people. (Pre COVID…sigh.) What struck me was how both individually and together as a team these women simply qualified as particularly stunning in their ability to give effectively and with generosity.

A predominant number of these women were either Margrets, Margarets or Maggas by first or second name, or had mothers, or grandmothers with the name. Of course, most were of Icelandic descent. We decided amongst us that there was particular energy occurring which could be quantified as ‘Margreting’. Margret became an action verb that day.

I have a mother named Margret, and that day she was demonstrating the verb of Margreting in action by doing what it took to help with serving all those people and wash up after them with no less effort than anyone else. I knew where I learned it from and was continuing to learn more. I looked around me and embraced the respectful care and love that was being generated by those women and decided I would not forget. I would ask myself each day from that point forward, how have I ‘Margreted’ today?

What have I done effectively, with generosity and caring?

On July 2, 1951, my mother Margret Sigvaldason Jackson gave an address as ‘Miss Canada’ (Miss Icelandic Canada) at the Hnuasa Icelandic Celebration in Manitoba. It was published in the Logberg on July 5, 1951. She asked the crowd “What is a Canadian?” She said in her speech that “We are citizens of Canada. The Icelandic songs, and dishes, and customs, and qualities of character are all vital ingredients in the recipe for a ‘distinctive Canadian type’. Who can deny that Icelandic coffee, made with a bag, and Vínarterta, have not added to our Canadian way of life?”.

I learned about this speech from Laurie Bertram (another amazing woman who demonstrates ‘Margreting’ in action) when she used this quote in a speech she gave at a conference at the University of Manitoba Department of Icelandic about her scholarly work about Vinarterta for her doctorate in History. Laurie’s new book ‘The Viking Immigrants’ validates lots of ‘Margreting’ happened throughout the founding and expansion of the Icelandic Community in North America.

The distinctive Canadian type that I cherish seems to have close knowledge of Vinarterta. Known as synonymous with Icelandic Canadian culture, it connects our hearts and minds in a multilayered way. It’s enduring and yet rebellious. It is pure love and pioneering spirit. It has a unique ability to express who we are, and our connection with our ancestors. And yet it is so much more. Já, YES! I realized that it was the unconditional love that I felt from all those Margrets, and it is also simply expressed in our deliciously different cake.  So on that day, apart from committing to ‘Margreting’, and embracing the many layers of Margrets in my life I also decided to fill my life with more Vínarterta.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there, and all the amazing women born of Mothers too, demonstrate Margreting in action today and every day.

Sending lots of love.

Arden Jackson