Different people have different ways of marking Mother’s Day, which is a day set apart to celebrate motherhood. It would seem that the way a person celebrates Mother’s Day depends to a large extent on whether they understand its actual meaning; and if so, what their individual understanding of motherhood is (seeing that different people tend to have different understandings of concepts like these).
Perhaps before even going any further, we would mention that there are people who actually don’t mark Mother’s Day at all. To a large extent, in the less developed parts of the world, this has to do with lack of awareness about the day. But even in the developed parts of the world, where there is more awareness about the day, some people simply choose to let it pass, just like any other day.
The people who don’t mark Mother’s Day (their awareness of it notwithstanding) fall into a number of categories. One is that of those whose mothers have already passed away, and their case is understandable; although there are likely to be many other mother figures in their lives (including their wives if they happen to be men). The other category is that of people whose mothers are still alive – but who feel that their mothers did not deal with them as they should have. Others in this category feel, outright, that their mothers abused them, and they nurse grudges against them for life. So they don’t appreciate their mothers on Mother’s Day, and most probably on any other day.
What many of the people in this category seem to forget is that they owe their mothers a lot, just due to the fact that their mothers gave birth to them. Go to any maternity hospital right now, and you understand what is being meant by that. In most cases, their mothers had a lot of options as to what to do with them (right from the option of not conceiving them, to the option of terminating their pregnancies, to the option of abandoning them at birth…and so much more). Yet their mothers chose to keep them. That is a great debt, and the only way it can be paid is by showing your mother that you appreciate her. Of course, in between all these categories is that of people who are aware about the existence of a Mother’s Day, who indeed wish to appreciate their mothers during the day, but who – year after year- end up forgetting about the day when it materializes. It may be a case of genuine forgetfulness, but then again, it may be a subconscious trick not to appreciate their mothers out of the belief that their mothers didn’t do to them as much as they should have, or that their mothers simply abused them.
Now turning to the people who actually mark Mother’s Day, the hallmark of the celebration is usually a call to one’s mother and other mother figures in one’s life, including one’s wife, in the case of men, or simply colleagues, friends and relatives who may be mothers. This is ideally done in person, but it can also take place on phone if the distance between them is too large, with the theme of the call being to appreciate the mothers. Sometimes, especially where the mothers being complimented are not one’s own mother, the token of appreciation may be something as simple as a ‘happy Mother’s Day’ compliment.
This applies even to those who happen to live with their mothers under one roof. Sometimes, a gift may be presented to the mother in question. Sometimes, children may even organize a party for their mother, to appreciate her. Others may decide to take her out that day…all in all, the idea is to celebrate our mothers and all that they do/did for us; as individuals and as a society, often at their great personal cost.
By Jenny Kal