Skip the Mother’s Day flowers for me

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My husband does not buy me candy or flowers for Mother’s Day. His only comment on the subject, to date, is “You’re not my mother.”

Most men cannot get away with this. I, however, am extraordinarily tolerant of my husband’s odd little foibles. I’m nearly saint-like in my forbearance. Really. Also, sugar makes me ill and I find the bestowing of flowers that someone has killed in your honor to be an odd custom.

“Let’s kill some plants and hand them to Mommy,” is just weird.

My apologies to the flower shops who make their living by encouraging people to do exactly that. 

There’s also the fact that I’m new to the mothering game, having officially been one for only seven years now. The reality that my children are 25 and 22 is something you should just ignore. We do. They call me “Mom,” I call them my first-born-and-only daughter, and my first-born-and-only son, and they submit gracefully to the monikers.

But, for my two kidlings, and for all children and spouses (except mine), Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8, this year, in other words, not long from now. You should be considering what you plan to do for your precious mother, without whom you would not have life, or for wife, or baby mama, as the case may be.

Unfortunately, it’s one of those holidays that lands on a different day almost every year. This means that I cannot hang up a sign like I did for my birthday. I thought my daughter was going to hurt herself laughing when she saw the sign tacked to the wall in front of our toilet: “Your wife’s birthday is April 3. Every year.”

It worked.

But Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May. Yes, every year. It’s possible it was established mainly so that mothers, when faced with the question, “But when is Children’s Day?” by their younger descendants can say, “Why, my precious, every day is Children’s Day!”

Yeah, I don’t talk like that either, but that would have been appropriate in 1908 when it was first established in the U.S. Six years later, President Woodrow Wilson declared it a national holiday to honor mothers.

My husband will be happy to know that Anna Jarvis, the lady who started the whole thing to honor her sainted mama, was utterly disgusted by the commercialization of the holiday, from cards to candies to carnations. She ended up protesting at a convention of the candy industry in 1923. She was arrested for disturbing the peace when she launched yet another protest at a flower sales event held to raise money for American War Mothers.

Most countries now celebrate some form of the holiday, though dates vary. There’s a common misconception that Mothering Sunday, celebrated in Europe, is exactly equivalent. It is not—it was originally established as honoring the “mother” church, whether Catholic or Protestant. Many countries have evolved—or devolved, as the case may be, thanks to the commercial interests—into something much more similar to our own calorie-laden and flower-infested holiday. 

The UK and Ireland also tag it Mothering Sunday, and celebrate theirs the same day, on the fourth Sunday in Lent. However, all their commercial leeches have also conspired to suck the religion right out of the whole thing, and they celebrate just like we do.

For the mothers reading this, you can also tell the child complaining about there being no Children’s Day that Mongolia actually does set aside a day just for the munchkins. You can also ask them if they would like to move there, if they get too annoying about the whole thing.

The Socialists in Europe (attention, Bernie Sanders!) celebrate International Women’s Day, apparently because Mother’s Day is such a capitalist celebration. Hard to argue with that.

But in South Korea, they celebrate Parent’s Day, which just means that the little children must spend even more of their parents’ money to buy both parentals something.

In Armenia, they celebrate Motherhood and Beauty Day. Still haven’t quite figured out whether ugly mothers get presents as well. The resource I was looking at (OK, it was Wikipedia, that incredibly reliable source) said it is “celebrating every woman as beautiful in her own way.”

I had to go looking for it, but there actually is a National Mother-in-Law Day, as well. Apparently, it was started about 20 years after Mother’s Day by a newspaper editor in Amarillo. It’s slated for the fourth Sunday of October. Every year. In this country. Swear.

I’m thinking out loud I’m owed a couple of years of presents for that one.

Lisa C Hannon’s email is lisa@lisachannon.com. She lives and writes in West Texas.

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