If you thought this blog was going to be solely filled with high-minded conversations about self-development, consider yourself warned to the contrary.
Necessary for the proliferation of the human race. And I don’t just mean conceptions, incubations, and births. It is a non-debatable certainty that pretty much every young fool on the face of the planet would meet his or her untimely demise if it weren’t for the watchful eyes and fervent prayers of worried mothers.
I’m certain that I cheated death on half a dozen occasions thanks to some word of wisdom from my mother leaping like a jackrabbit from the recesses of my subconscious and inserting itself like an mental airbag between my brain and some inane and likely terminal decision. To this day, my mother is one of my closest friends, and I owe her my life in two very literal senses of the word. I love her dearly and would do almost anything to see her happy, healthy, and prosperous.
But I despise Mother’s Day. I hate it. I really do. Actually, I hate seeing the word “Day” printed with a capital “D” and preceded by some dispassionate noun-turned-adjective like “Mother’s,” “Father’s,” “Valentine’s,” and host of other ludicrous appellations. I know, I know. I sound like a horrible killjoy. You’re thinking, “What a Scrooge! What a Gru! This guy probably drowns kittens in burlap sacs and shoves sticks through kids’ bicycle spokes in the park.” While that’s not an entirely unsavory idea (wait, did I type that out loud?), I’m not really as bad as all that.
Care to know my reasons for such a contrarian philosophy?
The first one might actually be quite obvious when you hear it: I hate the commercialism associated with capital-D-days. While I’m all for free enterprise and unshackled markets, I cringe at the fact that, every year, Americans spend about $7.5 billion on greeting cards. CARDS! Creased scraps of cardboard sporting a bit of paint and a trite message that end up at the bottom of a landfill three days after you send them. And they cost about five bucks a pop. Five bucks. A Lincoln for a piece of recycling. This is planned obsolescence at its finest. The same goes for floral arrangements. Forty bucks. Five days. Garbage can. Enough said.
But my real issue with earmarked days is the undeniable fact that our culture has adopted them as a replacement for the day-in, day-out sacrificial love that forms the foundation of truly meaningful relationships with our loved ones. It’s as if we have absolved ourselves of the need to continually and attentively nurture our relationships by conveniently cramming all of our pleasantries, apologies, presents, and affections into a few 24-hour periods. Isn’t this as ridiculous as attempting to satisfy your annual nutritional requirements by stuffing your gullet three or four days a year?
We shrink from the emotional, physical, and mental efforts of human connection and hide behind the calendar until a special day forces us to buy a quasi-penitent card and quasi-turgid flora in an attempt to show a loved one how much we value them. How trite! How timid! How typically occidental! Always attempting to replace consistent effort with condensed effort. And we wonder why we have divorce rates in excess of fifty percent and teenagers completely disconnected from their parents. I’m not laying the blame for the appalling chaos of our familial situations solely on the doorstep of D-days, but they definitely don’t do much to rectify the problem, do they?
I converse with my mother at least ninety minutes a week, every week. We e-mail. She hears and feels my love for her on a regular basis. And you know what? She’ll get something extra-special on Mother’s Day, because it’s a nice time to emphasize my gratefulness for her years of sacrifice and self-denial and prayers that I would live to see my eighteenth birthday. She’ll know that she’s really loved.
But I still hate Mother’s Day.