I like this picture because it is grainy and out-of-focus and imperfect and full of motion. Like life.
This was my 6th Mother’s Day since becoming a mom myself, and each year the holiday becomes more layered and nuanced. I think about my own mothers (my lovely mom, my step-mom, and my mother-in-law) as well as my sister and my friends who are mothers. But I also think about the people I know who have lost their mothers or lost their children. I think about the women I know who still struggle to become mothers and those who have decided that motherhood is not for them. For millions of people, Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of something. For millions of people Mother’s Day is just another day.
That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a nice holiday and that we shouldn’t go out of our way to celebrate mothers. I will always cherish the little drawings and gifts my son made for me and the extra hugs and kisses he gave me. I will always cherish memories of time spent with my own mother (who is very much alive and we plan to make lots more memories thank you very much). For many people, Mother’s Day is a chance to honor their mothers, to gather, and to celebrate.
But the thing that bugs me about holidays in general is that they are a double-edged sword. There is so much pressure. MUST CELEBRATE. MUST MAKE IT SPECIAL. Since it’s one of the only days out of an entire year that mothers are “allowed” to be pampered, they have to figure out how to balance some alone time with spending that time with their kids and families making memories. It’s a lot to pack into one day. Why can’t we all just take a day for ourselves whenever the hell we want to without permission?
The pressure works in the opposite way too. Because the day must be SPECIAL, women feel like crap if they have to be alone, if they don’t yet have kids, of they can’t be with their own mothers.
I think I’m just a hopeless Grinch, but I feel like holidays have a tendency to segregate feelings of celebration to isolated days on the calendar which occur but once per year, which in turn limits those days and sometimes spoils them.
Instead of living for holidays and SPECIAL days, let’s build a sense of celebration and appreciation into our daily lives. Let’s make more room for it to happen all the time, so that we don’t have to worry that the ONE DAY we are allowed to celebrate (Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, our birthdays, etc.) will be “spoiled” because we are alone, because we are sick, because we are busy, because we didn’t get the kind of day we wanted, because everything wasn’t perfect.
I had a lovely Mother’s Day, but when I woke up this morning I thought, Thank God that today is just another day.