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The Dissolution of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Posted in: Blog by admin on September 23, 2010

May 12, 2010

I am a mom. I have a beautiful mom. I have wonderful friends who are moms. But, I am not one who believes that we should continue to celebrate Mother’s Day. As a matter of fact, I feel strongly that the Hallmark holidays (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day), which were created with intentions of making moms and dads feel special and celebrated, should be abolished. It’s one of those things we seem to just blindly do — the calendar tells us the holiday is coming up and we immediately fall into the roll of shopping for gifts, sending flowers and planning brunches. These days have been celebrated for as long as we can remember, so why not continue the tradition?

I’ll tell you why.

More people seem sad and lonely on these days than on most other holidays. These days specifically tell us to celebrate a specific person — our mom or our dad. But, there are so many people out there without a mom or a dad. And, then there are the people who have a parent who has neglected them or abused them or abandoned them, and on this day, we simply tell that person to remember the agony, the torment, the despair. Remember, we say, you have dealt with the sadness of your negligent parent for years, but today you should feel an extra deep sense of sorrow.

The concept of the light-hearted holiday has failed. Yet, we have failed to acknowledge that.

If you’re an adult and you’ve experienced the loss of a parent, than you know the feeling — the dreaded anticipation of this day. My dear friend who lost her mom a few months ago told me that “tomorrow is going to be brutal,” as we spoke the night before Mother’s Day. I thought that this is ridiculous. She has had so many brutal days as she’s gone through the grieving process. Now she has yet another opportunity to answer the door to find grief waiting there … looking her right in the eye.

Then, there are the little ones. The children. The innocent kids who are just learning how to grapple with various emotions. If they have lost a parent, they have likely spent much time learning how to handle and manage that loss. Death is a concept that they may have trouble understanding. But fitting in is one concept they grasp at an early age. The motherless child, for example, has to now add “not fitting in” to the pot of emotions, which may already include loss, sadness and void. The child has to face the gloom and sorrow at home on Mother’s Day, but now, the child also has the opportunity to experience those emotions in the Kindergarten classroom as the class is making special Mother’s Day projects. The motherless child is surrounded by peers who excitedly create, eager to bestow their art upon their moms. I can only imagine the feelings that are streaming through that child. On top of the pain, that child has to stand out as the Kindergartner without a mom?

It seems to me that more gloom is experienced than joy on these holidays.

And I didn’t even mention the words “pressure” or “obligation,” words that wrap themselves around these days, as well. If you have a parent, then you feel the need to make that parent feel special and loved, specifically so on this day. If you are a parent, you feel as if your children owe it to you to be extra kind and helpful, for it is your “special day,” of course. And, if you are a child whose parent has passed, then you feel obliged to honor that parent’s memory on that day, maybe by visiting the cemetery.

Pressure. Obligation. Sadness. Pain. Loss. Void. Alone. Lonely.

This seems like a lot to endure … all in exchange for a beautiful bouquet of flowers, or for the acknowledgement that mom is really special. Aren’t we living our lives in the moment? Aren’t our loved ones supposed to know how we feel about them every day? I know that I’m not waiting until Mother’s Day of 2011 for the next opportunity to let my mom know how special she is to me. And, I know that my dad, with whom I’ve not celebrated a Father’s Day in 18 years, always knew how much I adored him. He knew on Father’s Day, because I was taught to tell him then. But, he knew, on the other 364 days of the year, that I respected, loved and cherished him. All it took was a big cuddle or a competitive game of Horse in the driveway, and he knew. He knew he was celebrated.

No visit to the cemetery today will make me more certain of that.

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One Response to “The Dissolution of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day”

  1. Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

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