I have never liked holidays that are exclusionary. Mother's Day as defined by the Publix commercials (our modern day equivalent to Currier and Ives) is a fuzzy romantic remembrance of idyllic family togetherness dipped in chocolate with candy sprinkles on top. Those fictitious displays are beautiful and may serve to move some cookies and cakes through the check out lines. More likely those commercials serve better to move great amounts of alcohol and binge chocolate through the check out as folks compare messy loud reality to a sweet, sensible, serene haze of fiction.
I swear I'm not bitter. I love sweet and sappy...when its fairly owned and not set up as an unattainable ideal.
Mother's Day, as most people celebrate it, causes more tears and disappointment than anything else. If you have been blessed with a beautiful, compassionate, loving mother, it will mean much more to her to share your appreciation often instead of saving it up in one lump sum to be dumped on her kitchen table in May.
And then there are those who would never make the audition for the Publix commercials. Mother's Day spawns pain for those who have tried to have children but who for whatever reason cannot. Mother's Day rips open scabs of pain for those who have been abused by the women who bore them. Mother's Day smacks those who have been abandoned or who have seen more rejection than love from their mothers. Mother's Day can be hard for mothers whose children are struggling with their own behavioral and legal issues. Mother's Day is relentless because of what we have made it.
Mother's Day needs reshaping. Why not use Mother's Day as a time to celebrate and practice those ideals that we espouse to the day? Why not use the day to practice kindness and compassion? Those who seek to commercialize our guilt and shower the women around us with flowers and jewelry cannot make money off of the reality of mothering. Mothering is messy. Love is messy. Compassion and kindness call us to go out of our way and be bothered by those who are the most demanding but also the most needy. Love isn't usually aesthetically pleasing and any mother worth her salt knows that. Cleaning poo, vomit and other bodily liquids isn't a grand aspiration of many. Why not honor those women...those people... who have influenced our lives with love by showing them what we have learned? Why not do what good mothers around the globe do every moment? Look around. Open your eyes. See what needs doing. Do it. Mess and inconvenience and preference be damned. If you see it, its yours to help with. Show others what it is to love and to be loved. Celebrate that and you will have moved Mother's Day into a viable, valuable day worth the honor ascribed to it.