Despite all the glaring in-store displays, TV and print ads, some louse of a male will forget to send a card to his mother or take the kids out shopping for his wife. He’ll get the patented Bus Stop Mommy Evil Eye, Guilt Trip and Silent Treatment. “I don’t know what the big stink’s all about,” he’ll grouse. “It’s just another holiday invented by Hallmark to make money.”
Wrong-O, pal! It’s as official and sacred as the 4th of July.
Mother’s day has been celebrated under various forms and names since the days of Greek Goddesses (such as my personal favorite, Crisis, Goddess of Domesticity). In 1872, Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, so there) first suggested Mother’s Day in the United States as a day dedicated to peace. Ms. Howe held her annual Mother’s Day meetings in Boston. Research doesn’t disclose what was discussed at these meetings, but if a little peace and quiet were on the agenda, I’d have been there, veggie tray in hand.
In 1907, Ana Jarvis of Philadelphia campaigned to establish a national Mother’s Day. She garnered support from ministers, businessmen, politicians and petticoat clad women everywhere. Finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday, to be held each year on the second Sunday of May.
How incredibly appropriate that the first American supporter of Mother’s Day focused on a day dedicated to peace. I can still hear my mother, answering our sincere, eager annual question, “What do you want for Mother’s Day?” Year after year she gave the same answer, in the same desperate, exasperated fashion, “All I want is you kids to get along for once. Just ONE day!” (Cue her exit towards liquor cabinet)
With three older brothers—you think I really had a say in how much we got along? Besides, I couldn’t very well walk into G.C. Murphy and ask for Sibling Peace Serum, then pray it cost less than my life savings of $32.17. Couldn’t she just want slippers like the rest of the moms on the block?
Since I’ve given birth, I can relate to my mother’s wishes. Although, I have a few additional requests for my mother’s day. You see, my children, whom I love with all my heart and soul, have some annoying habits that drive me to drink faster than their Basic Bickering with each other. So, when asked what I wanted this year, my kids heard the following:
For just one day…
- I do not want to hear you Slurp–not soup, milk, saliva or the dog’s face.
- Do not eat cereal within forty feet of me—the smell reminds me of First Trimester Nausea and the noise sends chills up my spine.
- Do not whine or otherwise emit high-pitched noises from your Being.
- Do not talk to me while I’m on the phone—this includes, but not limited to, sign language, facial expressions and notes couriered into the shower on paper airplanes.
- Kindly wait 24 hours before making skid marks on the freshly mopped kitchen floor.
- Hang up the wet bath towel (you used once) on the nice towel bar I hung in your bathroom—do not toss in the hamper full of other clean clothes
- Let me have soul possession of the remote control
- Do not pick your nose in public
- Knock before you walk into my bathroom
- And finally, just for one day, promise me you’ll never outgrow hugging me.
Now go play outside.