As I sat in the card aisle agonizing over the utter lack of grandmother-oriented card selections and struggled to keep track of just how many first-string cards I needed to buy, I was struck by the fact that my mind was going in circles about first and second-string cards at all. Battling to find the envelopes that actually fit the myriad cards I was buying, I couldn’t help but wonder:
Why is Mother’s Day so important?
“Well, your mom is your mom” isn’t an answer. Plenty of dads put in work, yet the sense of urgency seems different. I certainly don’t have first and second-string card lists for the dads I know. “Well, dads just don’t care as much” is, I think, true in certain respects, but seems more like a backhanded commentary on the nature of women and doesn’t really answer the question.
Given the state of the world today, especially the ongoing conversation concerning the “War on Women”, I’ve come to believe that Mother’s Day is the one day out of the year that anyone and everyone can fearlessly participate in the appreciation of women, particularly those that are moms. (Author’s note: being a mother isn’t limited to those who have birthed kids. At all).
Now, one could certainly make the argument that only celebrating women in this care-taking function is problematic. I don’t disagree; while I don’t dare speak on the complexity of womanhood, I feel confident saying there is more to being a woman than being a mother. Still, I think it’s important to honor those who give so much of themselves in this function. Speaking personally, I don’t think I truly appreciated my own mother until I became a dad.
What makes Mother’s Day special? Unlike other appreciation days, men and women can take part without agenda or much controversy. You can take exception with Christmas, the Fourth of July and Valentine’s Day. All are messy in one respect or another. But Mother’s Day? You can (and should) be unabashedly pro-women; you don’t have to explain or defend why. I tend to doubt we’ll see an #OccupyMothersDay hashtag pop up on the Twitternets. Heck, you don’t even have to like your own mom to be down, to offer a reverent nod in the direction of the mothers in your life.
Is there a sense of sometimes taxing obligation? Sure. Will you sometimes puzzle over just how much money you gave to Hallmark and the post office and the florist and brunch reservations? Yes.
Still, not so deep down, we know it to be a day we can lay down our arms and tell the women that have meant so much just how much they mean.
If only we were fearless more often.