Thanks, Mom

Does it sound crazy for me to admit that, as Mother’s Day approaches on Sunday, I feel conflicted over the occasion?

My qualms are two-fold:

1) Like other holidays, it’s become too commercialized; and,

2) Somehow it seems insensitive to celebrate motherhood so openly.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being Domer’s mom. Having him was the very best thing I’ve ever done. And I dearly love my own mom and am thankful she’s still here to offer advice, reassurance, recipes, cleaning tips, support, comfort, love, and all the other things children (even adult ones!) need.

But Domer doesn’t have to buy doodads to prove he loves me.

Nor do I have to do so for my mom.

Candy, flowers, cards, and dinner out are all nice. And appreciated.

But my late dad said it best when he he advised, ‘Just write me a letter. Or a poem. Something from the heart.’

Or a phone call saying Thank you and I love you.

Over-the-top celebrations of Mother’s Day make me uncomfortable. For Mother’s Day isn’t a special occasion to everyone; in fact, for some, it’s quite painful.

It’s a time for holding one’s breath and enduring. For shedding tears and hoping. For gritting one’s teeth and holing up until the day is over.

Take an unnamed young mom in my area, for example. This week, she and her husband held their 13-hour-old infant in their arms as he died. What kind of Mother’s Day is she going to have?

Or what about the women who’ve endured numerous miscarriages or who can’t have children of their own? What about those who don’t have, and never wanted, children, or those pregnant with children they don’t want?

While all of us have (or had) moms, not all those relationships are (or were) perfect.

What kind of Mother’s Day is it for someone having to live with a thorny, quarrelsome mom? Or an abusive or cold mom? Or a mom with Alzheimer’s Disease who can’t remember the child sitting in front of her? Or the person whose mom is deceased?

Hallmark doesn’t have cards for those situations, does it?

Honoring those who gave us life is fitting every day, not just on the second Sunday in May.

So buy doodads if you must, but don’t forget a hug and an expression of gratitude for the mom in your life. And if she is/was less than perfect, perhaps a prayer for forgiveness.

To my readers who are moms, Happy Mother’s Day!

And to those without moms, without children, or in sticky relationships with either, celebrate yourself and Spring!

25 thoughts on “Thanks, Mom

  1. Every holiday seems to be over-commercialized…and ALWAYS someone is offended. That said, it is very low key here as most holidays are….our celebrations focus on the gift of spirit and appreciation rather than material means. I don’t use this day exclusively to tell my mom how much she means to me. I talk to her every day and I tell her I love her. I don’t expect my kids to make a big deal…sometimes they surprise me.

    • I, too, tell my mom every day that I love and appreciate her. I think as we get older, we realize that we’re not going to have our moms around forever, so it’s pretty easy to be kind while we can.
      Domer calls. Last year, he sent a beautiful card (his first ever Mom’s Day card, i believe), and it’s something I’ll always treasure. I don’t know what prompted its sending, but neither do I care. It was a surprise, to be sure!

  2. I walked into Walgreens and was overwhelmed with the amount of Mother’s Day crap, the grocery store is filled with flowers that have already seen better days. Not my cuppa for giving or receiving. I’m not sure how the tradition started but Cole and I usually go to breakfast on Mother’s day, buy something to plant, and then he plants for me. Lilacs one year, Azalea bushes, we might buy a tree together this year. My Mother and I have a joke about sending the same unsigned card back and forth. It’s silly, it’s fun.
    Not ever holiday can be for everyone. Not everyone has a Valentine, or a Mother or a father. I think we need to be sensitive to other peoples pain certainly around recent loss. But otherwise, I think when a holiday doesn’t suit us we need to do exactly what your suggested – celebrate ourselves and be happy for other peoples celebrations. And of-course waiting for a holiday to remind you to tell someone you love them is very dangerous indeed.
    Heartfelt, well written. Thank you.

    • I LOVE your tradition of breakfast and planting — especially the part about planting something that will hang around and give joy for years to come! While annuals are beautiful and not too expensive, they only last a season, and that seems like a LOT of work for little reward.
      You’re so right — “waiting for a holiday to remind you to tell someone you love them is very dangerous indeed.” I hadn’t thought to add that, so I’m glad you did. None of us knows “the day or the hour,” so it behooves us to appreciate our loved ones while we can.
      Always great when you stop by and leave me a comment!

  3. So well said—written! I am blessed to still have my mom alive and I hope that I show her all the time how grateful and thankful I am for her and not just on one day of the year. Our tradition has always been to have a picnic on Mother’s Day and my gifts were always flowers to plant outside since hopefully by this time it is safe from the cold and snow. This year even though the boys will not be with us it will be the usual picnic and flowers. Tradition is good.

    • A Mom’s Day picnic and a planting sounds like a perfect way to enjoy the day, Beth Ann! I don’t expect Domer to be home, either, but I always look forward to his calling me. Here in the Midwest, we HOPE plants are safe outside by May, but in the backs of our minds, we know unexpected storms occasionally pop up. Let’s hope winter is finally gone by now!

  4. Really well said! Celebrating one’s mother is a daily opportunity, not a once-a-year-extravagance. And for those who mourn Mother’s day rather than celebrate it, sensitivity is needed. I appreciate your post. Your message is important!

    • Hi Ali, and Welcome! Thank you for the kind words. This wasn’t an easy one to write. I still remember my young years, when choosing a Mom’s Day card was an ORDEAL, ha! Nevertheless, somehow we managed to survive (and thrive); now, every day is an opportunity to express my thanks and appreciation.

  5. Happy Mother’s Day to you, too, Debbie! As for me, any excuse to spend the day with my son is okay by me. Wish my daughter could be here, too, but I reckon she’ll be here in spirit. After all, I love them both very much and I know the feelling’s mutual. 🙂

    • Aw, gee, you’re lucky, getting to spend the whole day with your son! Domer has to work, and he’s too far away to drive down for the day. I know you’ll have a great Sunday (and I’ll bet your daughter at least calls!)

  6. I’m with SuziCate’s comment – most holidays are too commercialized. I celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom last weekend since I was in town. I think it will be a quiet weekend for me. (Last year, my younger son was so sweet… he wanted to get me flowers, but he knows the fresh cut ones make me sad when they die. So, he went to the dollar store and bought me some fake ones. They are still on the table in a vase 🙂 )

    • What a sweet gesture from your younger son! I, too, tend to gravitate toward *live* flowers, like something you can buy then plant outdoors. More work, I know, but more rewarding, too! Glad you were able to spend some quality time with your mom, Janna, and hope your own Mom’s Day is lovely!

  7. So well said, Debbie. We need to take the commercialization out of all our special occasions and let the heart speak. On Mom’s Day I often think of my sister, who did not have children, but who dedicated her life to guiding other people’s kids into adulthood through 35 years of teaching.

    • Aw, thank your sis for me, Pat — teachers get far too little thanks, I think! I agree that our holidays — most of them, in fact — need to be less commercial. Sure, Hallmark, the florists, and the chocolate companies need to make a living, but golly, why must they pressure everyone to BUY, when love just can’t be bought? Happy Mom’s Day to you, my friend!

  8. Well said, Debbie. And I couldn’t agree with you more. Not everyone can or wants to celebrate Mothers Day the way Hallmark would have us do. I have friends who have never had children of their own for one reason or another. Although I’m happy they each celebrate being a mom to their fur babies, I’m sure this holiday is slightly bittersweet for each of them too.

    However you spend the day, I hope it is most enjoyable!

    • Thanks, Terri. I hope your Mom’s Day is lovely, too! It must be especially hard for couple who’ve tried over and over to have children but for some reason, that never happens. Fur-kids can provide a lot of joy and peace, though!

  9. No, Debbie, you don’t sound crazy at all about feeling conflicted over the occasion because I’m in retail, and know exactly what you mean about the hoopla and commercialism. And not only with Mother’s Day, but EVERY holiday.

    And I agree with what your dad said…

    “Just write me a letter. Or a poem. Something from the heart.’

    Or a phone call saying Thank you and I love you.”

    …because that to me means more than ‘things.’

    “Honoring those who gave us life is fitting every day, not just on the second Sunday in May.”

    And AMEN to that, Debbie, you are spot on!

    Except when I was much younger, I always lived away from where my parents lived, so it wasn’t always possible to get together or give them a gift on Mother’s and Father’s day. So, calling on the phone and sending them a heartfelt card was more than enough for us to exchange our love. In fact, I felt closer to my parents living away from them, than I did living with them. Somehow that physical distance made our love stronger.

    FABULOUS post, my friend!

    And HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to you!

    ((((((((( You )))))))))


    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Ron. I, too, lived away from my parents and often wasn’t able to make the trip back home for special occasions, so I know exactly what you mean in saying, ‘Somehow that physical distance made our love stronger.’
      Hope you had a spectacular week off — now I’m hopping over to your place to catch up on the news!

  10. I agree with you. My husband’s birthday was last week and then mother’s day. I feel bad that my 6 kids feel they have to buy me something….big. I’m even upset about Christmas to. But…it’s not going to stop them…I tried to tell them they don’t have to do that. We moms will just have to deal with it because it will just be what it is. Some moms don’t get recognition from their kids except birthdays and mothers day so for them it’s a good thing.

    I too treated my mom all the time. We know the merchants love these holidays and that the focus is…the $$$$$. It’s up to us moms to try to express to our children that there are other ways to show appreciation other than buying things. Deb….you always have though provoking topics. I’m glad you feel free to express your opinion.

    • GOOD for your kids, Tanya — shows that you and your husband raised them right, in that they’re trying to think of others! (Happy belated birthday to him, too.)

      Thanks for your too-kind words. ‘Opinionated’ is definitely one of my traits — I just had to bury it while I was working in journalism, ha! There are very few things I don’t have an opinion about — though sometimes, I can see BOTH sides of an issue so clearly that nobody could know which side I advocate!

      Hope your Mother’s Day was extra-special.

  11. I’m pretty late to this party, Debbie but I can’t help but hop on and say, you always strike a chord. As a mom, my greatest gift is to see my children be happy and successful in their own lives. I know my 91-year-old mom feels the same way. You’ve got it right, appreciate the relationship everyday and be sensitive to others who are not as fortunate as you in the mother arena. Amen!

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