The enthusiastic duo of my son and my niece was heard making plans for Mother’s Day. They wanted to prepare a dinner for me. I have no objections to that as long as they leave the kitchen spotlessly clean after being the chefs. Should I also give an addendum? Here it goes. They are more than welcome to take over the kitchen at a greater frequency rather than cooking just a meal each on weekends and “instantly” sharing a picture on Instagram.
The second Sunday of May is observed as Mother’s Day in most nations (USA and India included) although some countries have set a different date. As a child of the late sixties growing up in India, I did not know about Mother’s Day nor Father’s Day (the third Sunday of June) for a very long time. The concept was either not as popular then, or I was not aware. Getting to know the history now, I feel that the sentiments associated with both of these days are heartwarming.
A beautiful story is embedded behind the celebration of Mother’s Day in the United States. Anna Jarvis of Webster, West Virginia was inspired by her mother, a Sunday school teacher instrumental in starting Mother’s Day Work Clubs. The clubs taught women how to care for their children. In honor of her mother, Jarvis started Mother’s Day, but later, the growing commercialization of the day disillusioned her so much that she even fought to have Mother’s Day rescinded!
To compliment Mother’s Day, the tradition of Father’s Day followed suit. Sonora Smart Dodd, the daughter of a Civil War veteran, raised the question as to why fathers were not honored too. Did only mothers deserve a day for their loving service? And starting with a celebration in the state of Washington in 1910, Father’s Day has been a nationwide holiday since 1972.
I choose not to be a hypocrite, and I am honest that I have enjoyed being a part of Mother’s Day celebrations. Ever since I have known about it, I have wished my mom on Mother’s Day. I have still preserved the book that my kid made for me as a second grader, with lovely notes written in his sloppy handwriting. I have always enjoyed the lunches/dinners I have been treated to.
However, I cannot ignore the sad reality that commercialization, in its giant strides, is taking over. The euphoria for Mother’s Day is definitely at a low ebb this year on account of the global COVID-19 crisis, and this will perhaps be the same for Father’s Day. But otherwise, every year there is too much hype around these days! The true essence and the beauty of the thoughts behind them are lost in that whirlpool. There is a flood of advertisements on television, billboards, and mailbox flyers, announcing sales for those holidays. Earlier this year, a report on Repricer Express titled Discover the Sales Differences Between Mother’s Day Vs Father’s Day even detailed how different countries spent on gift-giving.
Is it all about flowers, gifts, and gourmet meals to celebrate our loved ones? What about those who are not in a position to afford these comforts? Even minus these accessories, love continues to flow in their hearts. I wonder if we really need a designated day to shower affection! For all what our parents do for us, every day is a mother’s day or a father’s day! We do not need an assigned day to tell our parents how much we adore and respect them. The intensity of our feelings needs to find expression in our day-to-day behavior.
I wouldn’t like to stir a hornet’s nest by saying, “Let’s do away with these celebrations!” It’s one’s personal choice, and it is perfectly fine if one desires to observe these occasions. I am just saying: Let’s not make a BIG deal about our affections on just one particular day; instead, let’s spread love throughout the year!
A quote from Mitch Albom, the author of For One More Day, goes: “Behind all your stories is always your mother’s story. Because hers is where yours begins” We definitely owe the world and more to our mothers. Here’s to wishing my mom and all other moms a very happy Mother’s Day!