American culture is funny—always assigning days on the calendar to celebrate special people. What other culture assigns a day just for mom—and for whatever reason, it’s always in the month of May?
Some people may not feel like celebrating Mother’s Day at all. Take for example a friend of mine who has had a strained relationship with his mother for years and today has no contact with his mother at all (she suffers from substance abuse and he finds it is healthier for him to “stay away”). Every year, around this time, he becomes cynical. Just yesterday, he complained about Mother’s Day by saying, “Yep, another day for Hallmark to make money. What’s the point?” He was trying to hide his hurt and disappointment (that I know is there).
More often than not, our ideals of a perfect mom blur with our reality. We grow up realizing that our mothers are far from perfect, or maybe they disappointed us in some way. If you are lucky enough to be “friends” with your mom, then you should be grateful because it’s a real crap shoot. You don’t get to “special order” the woman you will call mom, like you don’t get to pick your other relatives.
When I worked with kids, I was always reminded that Mother’s Day isn’t filled with flowers and bliss for everyone. One year, a child wanted to stay in from recess and appeared depressed. He confided in me, “Yeah, my mom is a drunk and I don’t get to see her. My Nana won’t let me. I hate Mother’s Day and I don’t want to make that stupid Mother’s Day card you said we’d be making this afternoon.” That disclosure came from a third grader who learned way too early in life that people (and life) can disappoint.
For people who are grieving the loss of a beloved mom due to illness, a recent death, or maybe distance that was created by divorce, today may be a day they wish would just hurry up and be over with, already.
And what about the woman who can’t conceive? What is she doing today? Does she take a walk in the park and see other moms, happy, playing with their kids and this makes her feel empty and sad, because today IS a day for mothers (and she’s still unable to join the club)?
It’s Mother’s Day. We think flowers, phone calls, family dinners…but are we forgetting those of us who don’t have a reason to celebrate today? Shouldn’t we reach out to them today?
With so many people writing about how great this day is or how great their mom is…Wonderful…That is what Hallmark would expect from any writer.
But if you relate too much to the book Mommie Dearest or are wondering today (like you do every year) who your birth mother is and why she would ever give you up for adoption, know that there is one writer out in the cyber-sphere who is sending you a big hug.
Take heart. Yes, it is Mother’s Day and maybe you don’t have a reason to celebrate or even a desire to do so. But force yourself to pick up the phone and call a good friend who has been a good “mother” to you—even if the “mom” happens to be a six-foot-four male with a short white goatee!
If this person has listened to you complain and wiped away tears, pointed out your good points when you were only focused on your flaws…maybe this is the one person to send a card to or just thank by phone or email.
If on this Mother’s Day you find yourself without a mom or with a mom who drives you crazy, it is just another day. Another day on the calendar to remember that life is about moments in time but every day should be a celebration of people. Hallmark doesn’t get to tell us who those people are. We decide.
So it’s Mother’s Day and I’m spending it with my two beautiful girls. I just burnt their bacon for breakfast and I’m reminded by my youngest that the only thing domestic about me is that I live in a house. I quickly remind her that there is a reason my favorite two words in the English language happen to be “take out.” Although I’m not perfect and never will be, I’m deciding that today, like every day, I’ll try to be the best I can be, for them (and for me).
Have a happy day, whether you are a mother or not, love your mother or not, or like Hallmark or not. It’s just another day to celebrate life and the people in it.