It Starts With Memories…
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-five 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 a few 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.
My Mom Always Said…
“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 many grandchildren and daycare 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. 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).
A mother figure may look like:
- a sister
- an auntie
- a teacher
- a neighbor
- a dad
- a brother
- an uncle
- your best friends mom/dad/family
Here’s the thing. A mother figure doesn’t have a specific “look”… They can be gay, straight, nonbinary, two-spirited, male, female…. It doesn’t matter.
What really matter is that children have role models in their lives. Sometimes it’s a parent and sometimes it’s not. 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.
May I Make a Suggestion For This Mother’s Day?
I’d like to propose that this Mother’s Day we all begin to recognize and thank all people 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–heck, every care provider– 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.
Or, even better, skip this overly commercialized holiday and do something different.
- send a “mother’s day” card in a month.
- text your niece every day and tell her what a great mom she is.
- send a message to your best friend who has a fur baby and tell what a great mom she is.
- send a note to a single dad telling him how special it is that he’s both a mom and dad to his kids
- leave a note for the same sex parents telling that they’re doing a great job.
- acknowledge and appreciate that offering that wonderful safe, nonjudgemental, and nurturing place comes from all in different ways.
- don’t forget about the single mom’s, the step mom, the surrogate mom, the adoptive mom, or maybe the fertility doctor that assisted in the preganancy…
The whole notion of Mother’s Day is bigger than all of us.
Embrace it throughout the year and not just today.
Happy Day to ALL who mother. xoxoxo
Do you buy into all the commercial hype? Would you be hurt if you were ‘forgotten’ on Mother’s Day? Tell me.
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