Random Thoughts I: Is Mother’s Day a Hallmark Conspiracy?

While driving to work this morning and listening to the local radio station it happened. I was patiently waiting to hear the weather report and drinking my piping hot coffee with cream when the smug announcer proclaimed from the dashboard that this Sunday is Mother’s Day! I nearly spilled my coffee at hearing this as that familiar sense of panic flooded my senses and totally ruined my otherwise relaxed early morning commute. Sunday? This Sunday is Mother’s day?!!! Mother’s Day seems to sneak up on me every year like a leopard stalking a deer. It pounces on me without warning causing me a stress headache as I try to produce that perfect gift for both my own mother and the mother of my three children. So my day is now officially ruined as I drive the rest of the way to work mentally picking gifts and discarding them one by one as not being “quite” right.

So how did this anxious day celebrated each year get started I wondered? Did Hallmark think this one up too along with Boss’s Day and Secretary’s Day and Sweetest Day? Well believe it or not, no! Hallmark didn’t, although they do seem to profit from substantial card sales on that particular day and certainly market the living hell out of it and throw in a pinch of shame to get us to their well stocked card racks. Oh well, can I really blame them? It works doesn’t it? But I digress! Let’s take a look at the history of this guilt and gift ridden day!

The history of Mother’s Day is centuries old and goes back to the times of ancient Greeks, who held festivities to honor Rhea, the mother of the Gods. (Another pagan ritual ingrained in us!) The early Christians celebrated the Mother’s festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honor Mary, the mother of Christ. (Did Jesus get his mother a card too at Jewmark? Yeah that was lame I know.) Interestingly, later on a religious order stretched the holiday to include all mothers, and named it as Mothering Sunday. The English colonists settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday because of lack of time. (American’s were too busy fighting oppression and terror then too, bless them!) Productive little workhorses!) In 1872 Julia Ward Howe organized the day for mothers dedicated to peace. (She evidently never met my mother…:) This is the landmark in the history of Mother’s Day.

In 1907, Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), a Philadelphia schoolteacher, began a movement to set up a national Mother’s Day in honor of her mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis (Four names wow! And should she have been Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis SR.?). She solicited the help of hundreds of legislators and prominent businessmen to create a special day to honor mothers. The first Mother’s Day observance was a church service honoring Anna’s mother. Anna handed out her mother’s favorite flowers, white carnations, on the occasion as they represent sweetness, purity, and patience. (My mom? Sweetness yes, patience no, and purity….well I hope so!) Anna’s hard work finally paid off in the year 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honor of mothers.

Wow, Hallmark really didn’t have a hand in this one! I can trace and blame my guilty conscience on the Greeks. Damn them! Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly love my mother and the mother of my children without reserve. I long to produce that perfect present for both mom and wife, especially since I’m male, and therefore at the shallow end of the thoughtful gift pool. Damn that Y chromosome that somehow mutes our gift giving ability but let’s males instinctively know which way to turn a bolt and find the oil plug on any vehicle ever made! I wonder if gay guys have this same problem with Mother’s Day? Somehow I doubt it. (Even with that particular gift I’d rather be straight and for about ten-thousand other reasons too!!)

Somehow knowing that this particular day stretches back thousands of years only lends the day more import. This of course only raises my stress level further and now I have several millennia of tradition weighing on me also. Perhaps knowing the full story about Mother’s Day has only added another layer of tension and trauma to my stressful existence but somehow in the next few days I’ll find the perfect gifts and really will go out of my way to make my mother and wife happy. It’s just something that I have to do no matter the cost or time involved because there really is something I can’t describe with words in seeing total satisfaction in your mom’s or wife’s eyes, or maybe even a tear or two, when they get that one thoughtful gift celebrating this very special day each year. God bless you mom and mother’s everywhere for all that you’ve done and will do because there’s nothing as special as a mother and there never will be………………

Random Thoughts I: Is Mother’s Day a Hallmark Conspiracy?

Black Heart

Joined March 2008

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