Goshen News, Goshen, IN

May 12, 2013

Not endeared with this ‘Hallmark holiday’


— People sometimes ask me if today is my favorite day of the year. Or they smile, wink and say, “It’d be a perfect day for a birth, wouldn’t it?

“What?” I ask. “Why?”

“Well, it’s MOTHER’S DAY,” they say.

Oh, right. Mother’s Day. I had not noticed.

Honestly, I had noticed. I traverse the Internet far too often — live there, really — to not notice the holidays people celebrate, be those celebrations what I call “Hallmark holidays,” religious observances, national holidays or even the “International Day of” kinds of days.

For your information, there’s a World Hug Day, an International Day of the Seal, International Lefthander’s Day, International Computer Security Day and a Talk Like a Pirate Day. Among others.

So today, in the United States at least, people celebrate Mother’s Day. I do not celebrate Mother’s Day, but more on that shortly. First, what about it?

From what I can find, it looks like the U.S. Congress passed a law in 1914 declaring the second Sunday of May Mother’s Day, a day to display flags as a “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”  

Many accounts credit a woman named Anna Jarvis for truly founding the holiday seven years earlier in 1907 when she passed out 500 white carnations to mother members of her own late mother’s church in her mother’s memory.

Anna’s mother had been active in what had been called “Mother’s Day” campaigns for peace to end the U.S. Civil War, campaigns that have also been credited for the real origin of modern-day Mother’s Day.

In truth, people have been celebrating motherhood from the dawn of time. Hyper-fertile rabbits, their eggs and the goddess Oestre — aka “Easter?” All about fertility. Among others.

About seven years after Mother’s Day was crowned U.S. Congress-official, Anna Jarvis reportedly protested what she saw as a commercialization of the holiday — protested to the point of an arrest for disturbing the peace. Anna is said to have declared she wished she had never suggested it.

According to the National Retail Federation, people here spend more than $150 on average per mother for Mother’s Day gifts. Meanwhile, people starve and wars persist.

Oh, Anna. If she could roll over, she might.

SO I TOLD YOU I don’t celebrate Mother’s Day. You might find that distasteful? Think of me as a Mother’s-Day version of The Grinch? An awful daughter?

I’m sorry if you think so. I’m really not grumpy about the congressional holiday.

I just do not care.

Oh, for sure I care about my mother. My mom is generous and caring and fun to talk to. She changed my diapers, cleaned up my scrapes and, likely, cried over the foolish and painful things I did to myself and others growing up. Hers is the delightful squeal I will ever remember from my daughter’s birth — “Oooh, there’s an ear!” — and she is the one who listens longest to my rants about the woes of the U.S. healthcare system and the beauty of childbirth.

My mom is the tops.

Clearly, now that I have my own brood of children, I appreciate my mother more. And I aim to convey that to her — as often and as creatively as I can, most recently even with a Hallmark card.

But just because Congress declared it Mother’s Day doesn’t mean it is a holiday I have to acknowledge. I like Congress, and I obey U.S. laws and all, but the U.S. Congress is not my final authority.

Personally, I only celebrate holidays — or, at least, remember them and their meanings as best I can — that I read about in the true Scriptures. I do not feel the liberty to add to or take away, so my practices leave out the upcoming World Snake Day — set for July 16 if you’re interested — and many others, including Christmas, Halloween, Arbor Day and International Civil Aviation Day.

Religious people like to argue with me, pointing out I am free to celebrate any holidays I want — say, Christmas — based on whatever they mean to me. Not true, but that is irrelevant anyway.

Again, I just do not care.

Other people say I should celebrate non-sensical-to-me holidays for OTHERS’ sakes, that it’s insensitive not to. Following that line of logic, it would be insensitive of me to not wish some people a “Happy National Whiner’s Day!” on Dec. 26? Wait, or would it be more insensitive to wish them one? I just can’t keep that straight. See?

Even for topics near and dear to my own heart — say, midwives — I simply ignore when people declare it’s “International Day of the Midwife,” “National Doula Day” or “National Nurses Week.”

If you think about it, every day of the year could be SOMETHING day — probably is SOMETHING day. And every day of my life is my own world version of mother’s, father’s, midwife’s, doula’s, nurse’s, child’s and husband’s day. Among others.

I appreciate the need to raise awareness for any given issue, which the national and international days of this and that aim to do, so I work very hard and vocally to do so. Every. Single. Day.

So today I will celebrate my mother — and my children, my father, my husband and my neighbor — by doing my part to bring honor to her in my actions of love and service. I will aim to do the same tomorrow. And the next day. And a year from now on the second Sunday of May. Oh, and on Chicken Dance Day, which someone declared is Tuesday.

So, I know it’s a couple days early, but Happy Chicken Dance Day!

Goshen News columnist Stephanie Price is a wife, mother, teacher, childbirth educator, doula, midwife’s assistant and student nurse pursuing a minor in complementary health. Contact her at wholefamily@goshennews.com, 269-641-7249 or on Facebook at the page “Whole Family Column by Steph Price.”