Saturday, May 11, 2013

Are You My Mother?

Tomorrow is Mother's Day -- a day which I celebrate and enjoy. I consider Mother's Day a private holiday. I give a card and gift to my mother and, when she was alive, I did the same for my mother-in-law -- at times we even take/took them out for brunch. I receive a card and gift from my husband (I am the mother of his children). And I receive cards and gifts from my children and, often, from my "furkids" (aka my cats). To me that is plenty and absolutely all I need.

These past few years, however, I've noticed a growing trend. People I'm not related to wish me a happy Mother's Day. Included are friends, salespeople in stores, the teller at the bank, servers at restaurants, etc. Apparently simply being female earns me that greeting. I smile, say thank you, and, if it's another female, respond "Happy Mother's Day to you too." Now my friends do know that I'm a mother and usually I know the same about them. But most of the others are strangers and know nothing about me. My first thought, often, is "But I'm not your mother!" However, what if I were not a mother? What if I had been a mother but lost my child? What if I was desperately trying to have a child but wasn't yet successful? What if my mother had recently died? In those cases, this seemingly innocent greeting could cause pain.

I don't want to be considered the Grinch of Mother's Day, but let's go back to just wishing our own mothers and wives a happy Mother's Day. Really the only people I need to have recognize my motherhood are my husband and children. Like the little bird in Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman, knowing and finding your own mother is very important. Let's keep it at that.