The day after, and the day after that, and so on...

May 15, 2017

 

Happy day after Mother's Day. Or day after the day after Mother's Day, or whatever day of the week or month or year you find yourself reading this. 

 

My mother would scornfully deride Mother's Day as a Hallmark holiday when, in her words, "sons and daughters would dutifully trot out their blue-haired mothers to Howard Johnson's for some macaroni and cheese." Yeah, pretty harsh. But that was my mom. 

 

In Mom's opinion, every day should be Mother's Day, or more specifically, it was artificial to set aside one day to honor your mother -- rather, we should all honor our mothers every day. Not with great fanfare or flowers or cards. Not with dinner out on the one day of the year that every other family was also taking Mom out. Not with the smug satisfaction that comes from checking a task off of your list. Mom thought any day at all is a perfectly good day to do any of those things. No need for one special day.

 

Mom lived by setting an example more than by telling us seven kids what to do or how to behave, her opinion of Mother's Day notwithstanding. Whip-smart, educated, thoughtful and opinionated, she was never shy about sharing her thoughts with family and close friends, although she was reserved; I recall a long conversation we had once where she extolled the virtues of repression as a coping mechanism after reading a story in the NY Times Magazine

 

I have adopted my mother's cynicism about Mother's Day. When a friend asked me last week what I was doing for Mother's Day, I had to resist my bred response to snort and launch into my (mother's) lecture on the transparency of the Mother's Day hoax. As is so often true when someone asks a question, what she really wanted was to tell me her plans for taking her mother out to dinner, and bringing her sister along, and what restaurant to go to, and so on and on...I'm so glad I did resist! I don't want to be unkind. 

 

So, do I care about this holiday (wait; it's not a holiday, is it?) or don't I? The truth is this: I would be sad if all four of my kids didn't call or text or otherwise acknowledge me on Mother's Day (they did) even though they certainly do acknowledge me on all the other days of the year. And I miss my own Mom every day, but even more so on this particular day which is the height of irony, I think. I miss being able to spend time with her talking about repression, making her laugh with a funny card, doing the Sunday crossword, having a cookout at her house with as many of my brothers or sisters who were around, and all of us discussing everything under the sun, from the Stoics to current politics to the neighbor's weedy curb.

 

It's just that Mother's Day -- more than many other days -- reminds me how special every day was with my mother.

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