In this country, we only have 10 federal holidays. Four of them are based on stuff related to the military or war; one is a function of the calendar; one is based on an Italian guy funded by the Catholic church to find a new way to buy and sell things and who never even set foot on this continent; another one is predicated on a religion practiced only by 1/3 of the planet’s population; still another, while ultimately honorable, was the government’s attempt to mend relationships with labor unions. The final two are MLK Day and Thanksgiving. Fine. (The latter has been consistently misconstrued as a celebration of the Pilgrims, which, of course, it is not. More on that some other time.)
Why do we have those kinda random holidays, yet we don’t have a federal holiday that actually acknowledges the humans who, literally, gift us with life. I mean, come on, a man’s participation in the whole “giving life” thing is not all that complicated or that significant. Why don’t we have a REAL holiday for moms? Those women who actually lug little creatures around for nine months. Their bodies actually become food manufacturing facilities for us – both while they are packing us around and after they finally unload us into the world. Women suffer through hours of the second worst pain known to humankind to pop us out. (The first worst pain is kidney stones, but I would never suggest a holiday for that). At the very least, they deserve a day on the level of Columbus Day.
All the other holidays, typically, you get a whole day off. If you don’t get the day off with pay, you maybe get a little extra to work that day. Cool, right? Many of these holidays even get an extra day! You have "the day" PLUS the day you "observe" the day on. What? That’s totally double dipping. We have also gone to great lengths to create elaborate festivities and festivals and cookouts and parties for the current holidays. Mother’s Day, on the other hand, is on a Sunday, which is a day off anyway! Where’s that extra day? (NOTE: Moms never get a day off, which is the whole point behind this little rant.) Top it off with the fact that, usually, the best we can muster for our moms is a cheap ass breakfast in bed made by a three-year-old with food Mom already had in the fridge. Sure it's cute but not really holiday-worthy. I have friends who plan three weeks out for Labor Day Bar-B-Qs, replete with themes and decorations. Maybe, just maybe, Mom will get a trip to a noisy and overpriced all-you-can-eat buffet with the whole family. Shit, she can’t get a break. Think about it, why would we honor a mom with her own day and think that she would want to have her day be exactly like every other day except that she might get a break from preparing one lousy meal. Not cool. I mean, face it, opening day of baseball season is a bigger deal and your team has probably sucked for the last 10 years! And then…AND THEN…boom! Monday again and we’re all back to business as usual. Is it too much to ask, for Moms to get a real, honest-to-goodness, day off with pay holiday?
Right. To the point, Watkins. Here is the real reason for my post. This person right here. You'll notice I am not posting pictures of this insanely incredible person with her kids (both of whom I love dearly) or her husband (same). It is called Mother's Day after all. It's not Moms With Their Family Day. On Washington's Birthday, we don't talk about all the other presidents. On July 4th, we don't mention all the other military holidays. Yes, my daughter is a mother. But her mom-ness is only a part of who she is. We all should remember that on Mother's Day. It's not even the most important part of her, but it is the reason we give for celebrating on this one not-fully-formed holiday. We shouldn't just celebrate the biological fact of someone being a mom. We should celebrate the influence moms wield on their families, their communities, and, indeed, the world. We should celebrate their ability to multitask with the most important of tasks in the face of insurmountable societal and often familial challenges. We should honor their empathy and caring. They problem-solve, analyze, help with homework, lead by example even when they rather just take a shot of Jameson's and put their feet up. They work, hard. Stay at home moms, working moms, single moms, married moms, LGBTQ moms are all more than just what we celebrate on the day.
Why shouldn't Mother's Day be more like Labor Day? (No pun intended.) Why shouldn't we plan big parties with friends and food and booze. Why shouldn't we take the following Monday day off with pay to truly celebrate these people so important to us? I for one was guilty of allowing Mother's Day to be an afterthought. It really wasn't until after my mom passed that I realized how important I could have made that day for her. Instead of picking out the last minute card and calling her for the requisite Mother's Day chat, I should have done more. We should all do more to remind them, and ourselves, that we cannot live without them. Figuratively and literally.
Make this Mother's Day great.
P.S. Heather, I love you. Happy Mother's Day.