Q: Mother’s Day is just around the corner.
I know that I should be more appreciative when the designated Sunday rolls around, but I do not feel in the mood for it this year.
I know that all five of my children love me, as do their spouses and their children, but I would prefer a spontaneous show of affection from them for me rather than having a time and a place during which they are supposed to indulge me with presents, cards and well wishes.
I do not see the sanctity in Mother’s Day and I fear that as holiday, or special occasion, the whole thing has been taken over by those same forces in commerce that have managed to demystify Christmas and are doing what they can to siphon the joy out of Halloween.
Am I alone in this thing or have other women expressed some dissatisfaction over what Mother’s Day has become?
Is it possible for Mother’s Day to be more than another ad campaign?
A: Dear Disgruntled, thank you for your letter, and, no, you are not alone. In fact one of the first women to be dissatisfied with the direction in which Mother’s Day was headed was Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia.
Jarvis, as irony would have it, was not only among the first to be dissatisfied with the way the day turned out, but was also the first woman to honour her mother on Mother’s Day.
The first modern Mother’s Day was held by Jarvis on May 12, 1907. She wore the first carnation to honour her mother, a white one, which has since turned into a tradition in which people wear white carnations to honour their deceased mothers and red carnations to honour their surviving moms.
The legend supporting the carnation is that when Mary, Mother of Jesus, walked away from the crucifixion she wept through the torture she had to endure watching her son suffer. Each tear she shed blossomed into a carnation when it touched the earth. Isn’t that a wonderful story?
Jarvis started Mother’s Day to say thank you to her own deceased mom and to do so within the holy realm of respect.
She recognized, as did the hordes who followed her example, how heroic her mother had been.
Sometimes, we fail to acknowledge that every one of those hundreds of thousands of soldiers who died in battle, during the American Civil War, or during those world wars preoccupying the trenches in France and Germany and goodness knows where else, we fail to acknowledge that each one of those soldiers had a mom and each had a mom who was heartbroken when news came back that the dying soldier would never again see.
Sometimes we also forget that the birth of a child has not always been easy. Until very recently many moms died when giving birth. They were and are heroic people. Surely all moms deserve some gratitude.
You can ask your children and grandchildren not to overindulge your day with presents. You can tell them not to spend so much on flowers or cards or whatever, but you also know that if they are going to spend, they are going to spend and you cannot do much about it.
However, what you can do is love and hug each of those children who says “thank you Mom, I love you so much.” The more genuine love you harvest, the more meaningful will be your Mother’s Day.
Jacklin Andrews is a family counsellor from Saskatchewan. Contact: email@example.com.