Happy Mother’s Day to all whom it applies!
When I was quite young Mother was my superwoman. She could tell Brother off. She could tell Father off. She could look at the cat the right way to make it cringe. Mother had Power. Her power came from love. She essentially was (and still is) the best superhero a little girl could wish for. Then, when I became a teenager I kind of forgot that. Wrestling with self-doubt amidst a weak grasp on self-actualisation I felt the need to assume I knew better.
The teenage desire for the power Mother wielded was strong in me. I wanted to be that strong woman but didn’t want to admit it to her. The proud teenage girl’s mind can be a wicked one. But time serves as a good companion. And when the eventual breakdown arrives (and it does) it is a glorious moment of weakness as your mother holds you, forgives you and tells you that you are, in fact, a complete idiot.
I once heard someone say Mother’s Day is just another ruse like Valentine’s Day. A capitalist prop designed solely to part us from our hard-earned cash. A futile attempt to puff ourselves up as good children only so other children can see it. Surely our mothers, foster mothers, godmothers and step-mothers deserve our love, respect and adulation every day of the year?
There is some truth to this argument. One may say we have run out of an ability to show original appreciation and instead need buzzwords. We need a day to be designated to this feeling we have that we perhaps don’t show every minute of every day. We need to spend in order to feel and to show feeling. This is the necessary root that drives a capitalist society forward. I understand the nostalgic notions that love shouldn’t be something categorized We shouldn’t need to make things up in order to show we love our Mummy.
If you think this way… get over yourself.
I understand the notion but it did not stop me buying flowers for lovely Aunt. You see Mother and I are separated by about 200 miles of England. A phone call will do to remind her of my appreciation of her and to move briskly on to dress up the banality of my day as something dripping with pure awesome. Aunt serves as a surrogate mother since even at 21 years of age; I am hopeless at keeping myself alive.
I grew up religious. The cool thing about religion is that you grow up with your own sweet selection of holidays. You get an engaging communal spirit based on common understanding between people, whether you know them personally or not, simply because you follow the same set of rules. Now expand this idea.
Perhaps Mother’s Day does equal flowers, chocolates and lavender candles in the shops. But it is a day that we made to celebrate something we all know is important. It is outside of religion but has the potential to maintain that same communal spirit. It recognises the role of the mother and means something on a global scale.
You have to be an incredibly cynical person to think the existence of a day of celebration for mothers means a lesser appreciation of her the rest of the year. Sure the shops take it as a day that they can sell more things to us. Maybe those things make this day all the more special. Dress it up a little like a birthday cake does a birthday, or chocolates do Valentine’s Day. We need a symbol of sorts. Superficial yes, but cynicism takes away from the purity of the message leaving only that superficiality. And the cynical bask in their imagined glory of superiority. We could do without the presents sure, but we could definitely do without the cynicism that cheapens our moment together.
The beauty of this day is that we all know it exists. We all know it is here and now. It invites a simple 24 hours out of our year to say, as one, by the way mum, you’re awesome.
For all the mothers, godmothers, stepmothers, foster mothers and legal guardians, whether you are still with us or not, you made a difference in our lives.
<Cover photo from www.mycutegraphics.com>