3 ways to celebrate Mother’s Day (and keep its original purpose)

Mother’s Day is two days away. I’m monitoring my expectations. Not because I think my husband and sons will blow it–but because I never know how it’s going to hit me. I’m emotional about Mother’s Day because mothering and being mothered are emotional relationships.

I honestly don’t like the commercialism of Mother’s Day or any other holiday. I don’t like buying cards, and I really don’t like receiving cards from the store. I don’t want candy. Flowers are fine, but not as the only gift. I want something original, from the heart.

I want to be seen for who I am, not just thanked for what I do.

In a way, I’d like to be memorialized while I’m still alive, at least once a year.

In 1908, Mother’s Day began because a woman, Anne Reeves Jarvis, wanted to memorialize her mother, three years after her mother’s death. Then Anne began lobbying Congress to make it a national holiday so mothers everywhere would be remembered and appreciated. I guess she wasn’t done talking about her mom.

I understand. It’s been almost three years since my mom died. I was looking at pictures of her today, and I could feel the emotion welling up again–the love, the memories, the pain of loss, the impact she has made on my life. I would love to tell her all the things I’ve learned in just the last few years. I’d like her to see how I’ve grown as a person and what I’ve been accomplishing.

me, my brother Mike, and my mom, Barbara Walley

I’d like to hear her laugh and see her smile again. I wish I had videotaped her, and not just my children. I wonder if other people forget to video their parents.

Mothering is the greatest and most powerful job in the world.

As a mother who no longer has a mother or any grandmothers, I’d like to suggest some meaningful ways to memorialize your mom while she’s still alive:

  • digitize the family photos (moms stink at this)
  • write her a letter or a poem, telling her how she has changed your life
  • take her someplace she’d love to go but would never spend the money to go herself
  • contact old childhood playmates, cousins, college friends, wedding friends–people she hasn’t seen forever–and arrange a get-together
  • set up a schedule to take her to lunch once a week or once a month
  • make a list of all the things she did that you are doing with your family

All moms are opinionated. It’s essential to doing the job of parenting. Cut her a break on that account. Instead of noticing all the ways your mom annoys you (telling you how to cook, how to parent, how you should slow down), take time to notice all the positive influences she’s had on your life. And share them.

You see, moms everywhere are worried about two things: 1) that you won’t turn out (doesn’t matter how old you are), and 2) that you won’t want to spend time with her. She’s afraid you’ll only see her for what she does and not who she is.

And your mother is remarkable, even though she’s not perfect. Only the truly remarkable step up to the task of mothering and stick with it.

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies. You are remarkable.

Mom and me

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