I am not a huge fan of manufactured holidays. Valentine’s Day, for example, is largely a commercial creation, designed to sell chocolates and cards, wrapped in the quest for romantic love. I love my husband, but after nearly 18 years of marriage, we are more concerned with the practical aspects of daily life – working full-time, running a household, raising a child, etc. Not to say that the romance is dead, but we can’t magically conjure it up on February 14. What if one of us has a headache?
I regard Mother’s Day as a similar social/commercial construct. While “Mothering Sunday,” as it was originally called, may have had some relevance two centuries ago when women were considered second-class citizens and had little or no rights, it seems less like a celebration of “motherhood” and more a marketing opportunity. “Celebrate Mom” seems to be code for “buy her stuff”. As my family will attest, I will never say no to presents. But I have little or no use for most of the items offered up by retailers as homage to mom: I am highly allergic to perfume; I don’t wear fancy pyjamas; and while I love jewelry, my taste runs to funky rather than bling.
Despite my reservations, I do have a special affinity for Mother’s Day, as that was the day I was born. When I was a kid, I took no end of pleasure in reminding my brothers that I was born on Mother’s day. In my superior, older sister way, I liked to draw their attention to my extra specialness – I was after all, the first child and the only girl; thus, the ultimate Mother’s Day gift. To this day, my brothers remain resolutely underwhelmed by this fact.
Every few years, my birthday would fall on Mother’s Day. I liked the specialness of it, but didn’t much like sharing it with my mother. My husband hates when the two dates coincide, because it means he has to shell out for two sets of gifts. This year, my birthday preceded Mother’s Day by several days.
Mother’s Day at our house was quiet this year. We didn’t go out for brunch – having worked my way through 2 university degrees as a waitress, I know this is the worst day to go out for a meal with your family. Large groups, long line-ups, harried staff and screaming (and it is not always the children). So we stayed home and I made blueberry pancakes. I make them better than my husband – tells me “they are the best pancakes Mommy”.
In terms of gifts, I got some new gardening tools which always come in handy, since I like to garden. But the best gift, bar none, was a painting M made for me. He is not crafty or arty, so getting something he made is extra special. Tis a picture of two stick people (a child and an adult)on a sunny day in a field of bright red flowers. It won’t win any art prizes but that’s the best part. The fact that he finished it is even more unusual – the last time I encouraged him to make a home-made gift for his dad, he only got half-way through the project – a little calendar covered in mosaic squares. My husband still has it – it isn’t really functional because the squares fall off if you move it. I plan to keep my picture and show it to my grandchildren (lol).
They could get rid of Mother’s Day tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter to me at all. I know M loves me – he told me so this morning. I would still be my mother’s best Mother’s Day gift, plus I’d have a lovely picture to hang in my office.