At least this one will always be fresh, and you don’t have to dump it with the trash on Friday.
I was walking with my friend last night past the stalls of cheap, generic flowers crammed full of Mother’s Day bouquets and she observed that nothing says “I love you Mom!” like something you bought sixty seconds before showing up. (At least Moms get flowers, all Dad get’s is the same crappy coffee cup reading “World’s Greatest Dad” which can’t ALL be true.) Indeed, Mother’s Day is the highest grossing Big Flower Day of the year, outstripping that other Token Gift Day: Valentines.
Not that flowers are inappropriate, or even unappreciated by your Mom. There are few ways one can go wrong with an armful of colorful blossoms and a nice card with a pithy yet poignant expression of love. Who could hate the idea of Mass Market Mother’s Day? The kind of person who thought a simple, thoughtless expression of prepackaged affection is cheap and demeaning is a cold-hearted monster! Or, you know, Anna Jarvis the creator of Mother’s Day: “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”
I admit a certain selfish interest in my dislike of the ala carte holiday fare of contemporary American culture. I also admit that I am terrible child, who consistently fails to get his Mother a bouquet of flowers and a Hallmark Representation of my Love. I further acknowledge the best I am routinely able to do is telephone my Mother and tell her I love her on this her special day, and MOST of the time I do it on the day before. Damnit, if I am not stirred to spend forty bucks on something that will land in a trash bin in six days, then how dare I criticize how people celebrate Her Special Day.
I’m not, I’m saying be a better child than I. Here is this woman whom you, face it, put through sheer hell, physically and emotionally. She toted you around inside her body, while you leeched off her nutrients for nine bloody months. Then, for 18 years you demanded every moment of her attention, energy and time. You made her worry, pissed her off, brought her to tears (OK, once in a while they were tears of joy) and generally pestered every waking moment of your childhood. After this, you just up and LEAVE, which causes her to spend a lot of time thinking about you and wondering if you are doing well. At the end of all this incredible pain you give her a sack of dead plants and a pressed fiber slab expressing some emotions penned by a stranger in Hallmarks Manhattan Office Tower? (This does not exist.) Shame on you!
How about, just once a year, you stop being such a narcissistic a-hole and write something from the heart. You could, for example, consider the incredible gift you were given (and not just the awesome Guns of Navarone Marx Playset you received for Christmas that year) purchased at staggering self-sacrifice and say something from the heart. Perhaps you could sit down and write something you might not otherwise be able to say because you are basically a total git when it comes to telling the people you love what you really want to say. You could start with something like:
“Mom, thank you. For everything. Even the things I didn’t like, such as making me give back that candy bar I stole that time. Thank you for not throttling me whenever I was a smartass, particularly when I really deserved a throttling. I know that was hard for you. Thank you giving me life, for teaching me right and wrong and for making me see the world instead of hiding away. Thank you for the gift of laughing at pain rather than wallowing in it. (“Don’t stand there and cry about it, get up and DO something!”) Thank you for reminding who I am and where I came from, even if I don’t always want to remember! Thanks for being there, always. Thanks for finding such an amazing man, marrying him and raising your children with him. So many people miss that last part! Thanks for having my Sister, I had my doubts about her when she came along, but I guess it turned out of all right. Thank you for this life, and sorry for all those times I make you worry about me, even today. Finally, most of all, thank you for not being upset when you don’t get flowers on Mother’s Day…I really suck at remembering to do things like that. I love you, Mom!”