When I think of Mother’s Day I’m torn between so many images. I can picture little kids carefully cutting out flower pieces to glue to the front of special cards they’re making for their mom. I think of fancy hotel brunches with mouth watering feasts, or gifts from dad of sparkling diamonds laying on a bed of deep blue velvet. I envision long line-ups at the ice cream parlor, and of course, the ever-popular breakfast in bed with the burnt toast. I can hear the laughter of my ninety year old mother-in-law who still lights up a room with her infectious grin. And then there’s the memories of my own mom, who passed away almost four years ago, which bring a smile and sometimes a tear.
My mom always got swamped with gifts on Mother’s Day. The dining room table would be filled with huge bouquets of fragrant flowers and there’d by boxes and bags everywhere. The phone would ring all day and the calls would all be for her.
“You kids need to save your money,” she’d say as she buried her face into the roses. “It’s all so beautiful but I don’t need all this fancy stuff.”
I always enjoyed buying for her though because she’d mothered eight kids and as a result had gone without many extras over the years. Several other families brought gifts to my mom on Mother’s Day too. See, our home was busy with neighbourhood kids all the time, and mom also babysat. People wanted her to know they appreciated her and the day to do that was Mother’s Day.
The commercial side of Mother’s Day is actually quite exclusionary. The ad campaigns we see online, in store, or hear on radio are a forced projection of what “mother” is. While to some, it simply represents the female parent, to me it’s a universal concept that looks more at the act of nurturing and growth and not just as the prescribed role. I suppose I’m switching the noun to a verb. Mother v. mother. (thanks to all my English teachers).
Everyday, our children have female role models in their lives that are not a parent and each is special in her own right. The act of mothering (nurturing, loving, and guiding) is often instinctive and passed to children from grandmothers, aunties, teachers, sisters, friends, and caregivers—each sharing different and unique experiences, history, and influence.
I’d like to propose that this Mother’s Day we all begin to recognize and thank women in our lives for the contribution they make to the upbringing of our children on a regular basis whether directly or indirectly.
Text your sister and tell her how proud you are of the mother she’s become, or slip an anonymous card into the door of a single parent you know—tell them they’re doing a great job and that you admire her child’s manners or behaviour. Every parent loves to hear good things about their kid. Speak the truth and be sincere—nothing stinks more than an artificial or hypocritical compliment.
Email your friend and let her know how special she is and that her caring attitude toward your own child is appreciated. Years ago, I received a hand-made card from one of my son’s friends telling me that he thought of me as his second mom. That specialness and memory will never be lost.
Pick up the phone and call your Auntie and let her know how important she is in your life. If you don’t want to call now you can wait for “Auntie’s Day” which is on July 22, 2018 as declared and promoted by New York author and “savvy auntie”, Melanie Notkin.
I guess the whole thing is, that though Mother’s Day is special and I’m glad it’s set aside for the recognition of moms, kids have more than just a parent to thank for all of their learning and growth.
To every woman in my life, past and present, you’ve all made an impact one way or another and made me who I am today—I thank you. To every woman in my son’s life, thank you for your nurturing, wisdom, and caring. Happy Day to all who mother.