It's a so-called "Hallmark holiday," beleaguered by consumerism and guilt-buying. It's the reason why shelves are full of icky #1 Mom mugs, bad chocolate, overpriced cards, and other detritus that ends up overflowing landfills. Its founder, Anna Jarvis, essentially disowned it.
Before I had kids, I called my mother and told her I loved her. Maybe sent flowers. That was about it. No big fuss, and no guilt. It was a Hallmark holiday, after all.
But now, as a mom of three, I must confess that I love Mother's Day. Here's why:
1. Secrets. All that whispering between my daughters and their dad leading up to the big day was pure joy. These girls love a secret, and they especially love having a secret from me. Bless them.
2. Self-directed art projects. Gotta love those awesome cards and posters...how sweet, right? You know they won't be doing that anymore in only a few years' time. But best of all, it took them many nagging-and-boredom-free minutes to make them (secretly and quietly in their rooms). What mom doesn't love that?
3. Peace and quiet. Josh took all three kids out to buy the ingredients for brunch, and then to his parents' to cook it, leaving me ALL ALONE for almost two hours. I took a shower, without having to stick my head out three times to negotiate with a child. I got dressed, without any visitors. I left the house and walked in the sunshine to a nail salon, where someone soaked and rubbed my feet and put purple polish (aptly named "playdate") on my toes. Yes, my family knows how to pamper a mom.
4. Brunch. My mishpacha put together a meal of egg and whitefish salad, smoked salmon, potatoes (by Bella), arugula-walnut-parmigiano salad (with the most delicious dressing by Aunt Nina), and a beautiful fruit salad with mango, peaches, and pomegranate seeeds (by Ruby). They made sure I had a cup of coffee in my hand, without having to get up to fetch it. When the meal was over, they snapped at me for trying to help clean up. Wow.
5. Cooperation. For some reason, my instructions carry more weight on this day. The kids listen because it's against the understood rules to argue or disobey with me on Mother's Day. (Well, the big kids did. The two-year-old had better get with the program for next year.) Admittedly, it stinks that this isn't the case every day. But hey, I'll take it.
6. Love and appreciation. You'll notice there are no gifts on this list. I didn't get any, and I didn't want any. What I like most about Mother's Day is that my kids were reminded to appreciate me, and they did. They know that that it takes a lot to take care of them. I think that knowledge will go a long way to make them good mothers themselves one future day, should motherhood be in their cards.
All in all, I think Anna Jarvis would have approved.
No, there's no need for kids' day, we told the girls yesterday. Because every day is kids' day. Well, today I appreciate my unique and quirky and difficult and loving and wonderful kids--who made me a mother, after all--just a smidgeon more. And their dad, too.