Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother's Day - an expose`


First let’s be clear.  I love my mother.  I would challenge you to prove that you love your mother more than I love mine.  You can’t do it.

And by the way, just because you post on Facebook that your mother is the best in the world doesn’t mean she is.  OK.  She’s the best in your world.

What I really mean is that if she were around, my mom could beat up your mom any day of the week.  And my step-mother’s pretty tough too.

Oh all right.  In the spirit of Mother’s Day…they’re all the best, right?  All moms are the best, what with the love and the sacrifice and the yadda yadda yadda.

Except of course for the crack mothers, who are bad.  And even they probably love their kids too but…oh, never mind. 

Now, having slogged knee deep into the quagmire of swampy curmudgeonliness, let me just say that I’m feeling a bit manipulated by this whole Mother’s Day thing.

And I’m a mother!  So, I guess that makes me a hypocritical curmudgeon at that.  Because the real truth is that I’m looking forward to my son’s token of appreciation come Sunday. 

No. 

The really real truth is that I’m expecting a token!  A cupcake with a smiley face…a handful of daisies from the neighbor’s yard.  He’d better do SOMETHING to demonstrate how selfless and unassuming I am!

I know.  That’s not very motherly.

We’ve both been pelted by all the ads reminding him to remember me.  I see him squirming.  It’s like homework.  He’ll put it off until Sunday morning then have to “run out for a minute.” 

There’s nothing like forced appreciation to let the air out of your balloon.



It puts me in mind of the Sunday funnies where we find Snoopy jogging back and forth on his hind legs in successive frames of “Peanuts.”  But he’s not dancing his happy dance.  This is not joy.  This is not abandon.  No grinning at the sky.  No arms wide. 

Snoopy looks a little frantic.  Desperate even. 

Charles Schulz has drawn a few drops of perspiration flying from Snoopy’s brow to convey his anxiety.  Snoopy is not smiling his doggy smile.  Instead, his fuzzy lips are pulled back a little too far in form of canine grimace.

Linus approaches Charlie Brown and asks what’s going on.  Charlie Brown replies, “I brought him to the park to frolic, and by golly, he’s going to frolic!”

That’s kind of how it is with Mother’s Day:  Appreciate your mother OR ELSE!

Not that I don’t feel grateful for the guaranteed follow through on the prompting.  My son will deliver.  He always does.  I love him for that.
I’m not the only one with mixed feelings about this.  Even the Mother of Mother’s Day was conflicted.  That’s right.  Anna Jarvis spearheaded the 1908 campaign to launch Mother’s Day as a way of honoring her own mother, who was a promoter of reconciliation following the end of the Civil War.
You’d think that would be a shoo-in for a national holiday, but no!  Politicians on both sides of the aisle argued against the proposal.  A Republican Senator from New Hampshire found the idea of limiting the celebration of his mother to just one day insulting.  My kind of guy.
A Democrat from Colorado said the idea of Mother’s Day was "absolutely absurd," "puerile," and "trifling."  Puerile?  Really?  I’m sure his mother was very proud.
Still, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother's Day a national holiday in 1914,
But Jarvis became disillusioned by the commercialization that quickly rose up around her holiday.  She began urging people to stop buying flowers and cards for their mothers! 

She wrote angry letters and led boycotts against the celebration.  She raised a ruckus at a confectioner’s convention selling chocolates for Mother’s Day, was arrested and dragged out screaming her protests against the event she had originally championed. 

Ultimately Jarvis declared that she regretted ever creating the holiday.  And she fought hard to have Mother's Day abolished!

Wow.  She kind of lost it.  Over a batch of carnations and a Russell Stover sampler.

Abolition?  I wouldn’t go that far.  I mean really.  What’s the harm?


And where would any of us be without our mothers?