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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Schism Sunday Vol. IV: Mother's Day

Today is mother’s day. Everyone around the country is sharing lovey dovey, mushy gushy, warm and fuzzy moments with their mothers and their children. People are buying silly cards spewing words that are not their own, purchasing flowers that will die by Wednesday, sitting through vague sermons on the blessings of mothers followed by an awkward brunch where we try to make mom feel like a queen while she attempts to spoon feed her two year old and still enjoy her eggs benedict.

Can you tell I’m not really feeling Mother’s Day this year? In fact this year I think I hate Mother’s Day. It’s just a stupid holiday invented by profit mongers that make us feel guilty and compete with our siblings and in laws as to who is the better son or daughter. Is it really necessary?

I hope you will forgive my biting disdain. I love my mom. I love her every day of the year. I honor her every day. And you know what, I miss her everyday. I miss having a real conversation with my mother. I’m lucky if I can keep a conversation going with her for longer than 3 minutes. These days I’m just thankful she knows my name. My mother is a beautiful woman, she was a vibrant, loving, proud, faith filled mother, but her light has been dimmed, her vibrancy is no longer. My mother has Alzheimer’s disease. She is 55. I am not yet 30. I can confidently say this disease is the cruelest thing I’ve ever experienced. And Mother’s Day is just a chunk of rock salt in an already gaping wound. My mom doesn’t understand anything Hallmark has to say, she doesn’t care for colorful plants that belong outside in the ground, and she doesn’t even know what Mother’s Day is. This leaves me with a strong desire to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed until brunch is over and the flowers have wilted.

But I will get out of bed. I will talk to my mother, I will thank my Father in Heaven for her continued presence on earth and the limited interactions I have with her. I will stop and smell the tulips, I will enjoy my biscuits and gravy. But this isn’t much different than how I spend most Sundays. Obligatory holidays with material expectations are quickly falling off my priority list. There are so many important things in life and cheap flowers and stale chocolates just don’t qualify. These holidays always seem to have the ability to make people feel worse. Valentine’s day makes you hate being single, Mother’s Day makes you miss you mom or long for the children you haven’t had, Labor Day makes you fear the coming winter and pine for summer days.
What is the point of all of this? Do you think these holidays are necessary? Is Mother’s Day special to you? Does Mother’s Day enhance your life? Is it sincere to honor you mother for one day when it should be life long? And what if your mother just plain sucks, are you still obligated to pretend you are grateful for the years of abuse and neglect she afflicted on you?

On a different note, I did receive a Mother’s Day card and a book about cats from the young girl I mentor, and THAT makes me smile.

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