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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Allison: Mother’s Day, huh?

There you are about to sit down to your family picnic. Birds belt their chorus. The breeze styles your hair. Squirrels frolic. You’re admiring your brand new Kitchen Aid mixer and your kid’s drawing of a horned something or other for your desk at work. Then we go all Allison’s blog on you.

We’ve been so warm and fuzzy here lately that I’ve gotten a couple cavities. It’s time to regain our edge and what better way than by issuing an ill-timed rant against that most innocuous of holidays, Mother’s Day. Sorry. It was inevitable. You knew it was coming.

Now, don’t worry. I’m not really against Mother’s Day. That’s like being against kittens. I’m just not on board with the Sunday Sale commercialism that’s replaced it and the cop-out one-time acknowledgement it affords.

First off, I love my mom. She’s the best. Second of all, I am a mom and I love being a mom. Now that we’ve dispensed with the disclaimers, let’s abandon tradition and commence with reason.

I don’t get Mother’s Day. Not in the way Michael doesn’t get spring. More in the way a tree is probably confused by Arbor Day. We all like to dance around and celebrate trees one day a year, but where does that leave the tree: “Dude, what about the other 364 days. How about you put down your trowel, stop planting tulips around my base, and go for a hike instead. You want to celebrate me? Don’t treat me like crap the rest of the time.”

That’s Mother’s Day. I’m pretty sure Hallmark won’t be interested in my resume.

One day a year we get BBQ chicken on the grill. We get a sappy card supposedly from our kid who can’t read yet that we know Daddy grabbed from the cash register rack at Home Depot that morning.  We have permission to leave the dishes in the sink until Monday. We don’t have to clean the bathroom until next week. Fantastic.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bitter, I’m blessed. I have a great family which is very close and respects each other. That’s the point. I don’t need a $5 card and slapped together potato salad to tell me that. I’d rather have the fact that I’m appreciated implicit in the dynamic of our daily interactions. I need more than one day a year. We all do.

I don’t know the origin of Mother’s Day. It probably has something to do with a Saint. Or the pagan goddess of blooming planters. Or maybe it was just the result of a game-changing Hallmark power meeting. Don’t feel like you have to write to me to explain it. I’m sure it makes perfect sense, and brings joy, prosperity, and promise for countless retailers, florists, and jewelers. That’s fine. But my husband and I kind of have an understanding about these things.

Mother’s Day happens several times a year for us. Whenever mom needs a day to recoup. Father’s Day is when Dad wants some time with his buddies. Grandparents Day…really? Let’s pretend that one’s not on our calendars. (Good job, Hallmark.) Our anniversary is the day that has the same date as the one we got married – and manage to forget every year. Birthdays are for children who still find magic and lessons in anticipation. Christmas is about family, reflection (and for us, our Faith). Valentines Day is the day we cringe because we forgot to write names on lollipops for our son’s preschool class. In other words, the calendar doesn’t have much of an impact on our family. Our year is full of special days, but we see no reason why they have to be the ones chocolate companies dictate.

I’m sure there are many mothers who count down the minutes to Mother’s Day because it’s their one island of appreciation. I’m sure there are fathers who can’t wait to catch a break for one day a year in June. That’s sad. I hope that’s not you. I hope your respective day is a little extra bump in a year of countless ups with the downs. I hope it’s no surprise to learn you’re appreciated. I hope you won’t be surprising your loved ones with the same fact.

If you do feel the need to celebrate a spouse, or a parent, or a tree, or whatever matters to you for one day a year, I challenge you to do it in a way that captures the point. If you’re standing in line at Home Depot and your kid who can’t read yet points out the card rack next to the cigarette lighters, you may have missed it.

Call me, Hallmark. You’re going to love my idea for Car Service Day.

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