From the moms who birthed you and me and the rest of us, to the wonder that was Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, from Ma Murray and her eponymous awards to Mom Boucher, who is today doing domestic duties behind bars, this weekend is all about the maternal ones.
Be they Mommy Dearest in temperament or Mamma Mia in spirit, moms can intimidate or inspire.
Mother’s Day as a commercial day to drive sales may rankle some, but commerce does make our world go round — and if this Sunday wasn’t designated Mother’s Day, it would be something else.
Hallmark would still sell as many cards on Stepdads Under Restraining Order Day.
We can take a stance against a day that has become a way to make money off saluting moms or we can embrace the sentiment behind the idea and honour our moms, past and present.
Anna Jarvis created the day in 1908 to honour her mom, Ann, who once opined that a day should be set aside to allow mothers to rest.
As with all good ideas that get corrupted by society, Jarvis became disillusioned with the commercialization of her precious day and later worked to have Mother’s Day abolished.
Alas, Jarvis failed in that endeavour and was committed to a Pennsylvania psychiatric sanitarium in the 1940s, where, ironically, her stay was paid for by representatives of the greeting card and florist industries, according to the book Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Struggle for Control of Mother’s Day.
(For perspective, that would be as zany as a mining company paying for a study commissioned by a city opposed to the mining company’s proposed mine.)
Interestingly, the woman who invented Mother’s Day was herself born in 1864 in a state invented in 1863. West Virginia was created by cleaving off part of Virginia and admitted to the Union during the U.S. Civil War.
So, on Sunday, you can remain mum about honouring mom or you can buy some mums for mom.
If, however, your mom, like mine, is now a mummy, you can spend Sunday (or any day, for that matter), reflecting on all that your mom did for you to somehow manage to navigate life and wake up today, relatively unscathed.
My mom died on the first day of summer in 1999. Next month will be 20 years since her ascension to the Milky Way Bar — or descent to the Red Devil Saloon.
As many can attest, it can seem like just yesterday or a millennium ago on any given day. I am one of six siblings and the reflections vary from brother to sister.
What I have found is that it is comforting to have something personal to carry forward.
My mom was bedridden with cancer. She was lucid, sitting up, reading and talking one Sunday.
She asked me to get her a book the next time I visited. She wrote the name of the book and author on a scrap of paper and I left to go home.
That night, she fell into a coma and died a week later.
I have the last note she ever wrote and carry that scrap of paper to this day in my wallet.
It feels good when I open my wallet and see it there.
The tactile always triumphs.
Regardless of your present or past relationship with the woman in whose womb you lived rent-free for nine months, it’s always a good idea to honour her, be it on Mother’s Day or any of the remaining 364 days of the year.
After all, as Merle Haggard so sagely noted, regardless of the outcome that is you, Mama Tried.