Mother’s Day. It is the one holiday that I believe needs to be rebranded.
Valentine’s Day, no matter how you spin it, was purposely designed to make single people feel like crap. Mother’s Day has the potential of a greater purpose beyond the traditional definition. Unlike Valentine’s Day, where I am single, my Mother is still with me. Literally. She’s visiting for the weekend.
I used to get quite anxious when she would come to visit. It meant spending an entire day before her arrival cleaning, only to have her spend the entire time while she was here, cleaning. These days I look at her visits as a blessing for with so many projects on the go and running my home as a B and B , it forces me to keep the place ready for last minute guests.
I am often reminded by friends with ailing parents how lucky I am. My Mom, who at the age of 85 bought her first BMW, at 87 sold her house and moved into an apartment and now at 89 is moving back to a condo, is in good health and independent. Most people guess her to be in her 70’s.
Mom is in fact the perfect weekend guest. She always arrives with a full trunk of groceries so I have learned not to shop before her arrival. However, I have put my foot down when it comes to her shopping at the Dollar Store. She has a need to buy stuff that she thinks I can’t live without, like yet another red plastic strainer “because it will put colour into your kitchen?” However, this week she did show up with Mark Cullen’s latest weeding device from Home Hardware. Good choice.
But this isn’t about my Mom. For many who by my age no longer have their mothers still with them, or women without children, Mother’s Day can be a bittersweet day. I would like to propose that we expand the concept of the day to celebrate something that we all love to experience, now and then, “mothering”. By mothering I am not talking about women who are obsessed with the welfare of or living vicariously through their children. Rather, I am referring to a woman’s natural tendency to care, empathize and in many instances exhibit unconditional love, no matter how much you as a son, husband, brother, nephew, cousin, grandson or just friend, screws up.
Now, you are going to laugh when I tell you what started me thinking about this. My dogs. Seven months ago I assumed “guardianship” of Willow, an eight year old, female great dane. Living alone with my male bearded collie Iago, our house was predominantly a guy’s house. Observing their interaction with each other and with me I realized how much Iago is like my male friends, who would rather be outdoors barking at strangers, digging holes and sleeping , where Willow is like my female friends, concerned about me and wanting to know my next move.
When I think back over the years of the incredible women I have and continue to know, there is this undescribable sense of comfort and security they provide. It’s a natural thing and men just don’t have it to give. I see it all around me, married, single, straight, gay, young and old, men engulfed by a field of this thing that can only described as “mothering”, the good kind. It can be a mother to a child or even a husband. It can also be a female friend to a male or even another woman.
(FYI. It can also be a female leader over a country or Forbes 100 company. Not to get too political, if ever the United States needed mothering and emotional healing, it would be now. Not to sound sexist, but yes, vote for Hillary because she is a woman. An experienced smart woman. Now is not the time to build fences of paranoia. Protectionism doesn’t bring world peace.)
Sorry, I digress. Mother’s Day, right. So here’s my idea. Unlike International Women’s Day, which is a celebration of female achievement, Mother’s Day should be rebranded as a celebration of a woman’s sixth sense, “mothering”. We should not only include mothers and grandmothers, but also aunts, cousins, sisters, wives, teachers and friends, all whose support we are grateful. They do so, not because they have to, but because they love us.