A previous version of this piece was originally published in The Fresno Bee on May 10, 2019.
If you Google ‘history of Mother’s Day’ you might find some fun facts:
- The very first celebration was launched at a church in 1908 by a woman named Anna Jarvis, who never married or became a mother.
- Anna created the holiday in honor of her own mom, who passed away three years earlier.
- By 1912, President Wilson made Mother’s Day an official U.S. holiday.
- By 1920, Anna was disgusted with how commercialized the holiday had become — she even tried to convince folks to not buy flowers or gifts in an effort to reset the day back to what she originally intended… a sweet, no-frills nod to moms. (Look it up.)
Anna Jarvis, I’m with you. I hear you. I feel you. I’ve had an inexplicable love/hate relationship with Mother’s Day for eight years now. My first Mother’s Day entailed a long work day (I didn’t mind, I loved my TV jobs at the time). Other ones that followed involved days and weeks of back-and-forth drama about ‘what-shall-we-do’ and ‘can-we-get-a-reservation-for-
that-many-people’ (guess who was coordinating — yes, us moms). Last year I happily hosted family at my home and featured a most gorgeous cheesecake that I decorated with roses from my backyard on a whim — to keep myself occupied and semi-numb since it was my first Mother’s Day without my own mom.
This year? I’m opting out. I’m opting out of inviting folks over. I’m opting out of planning anything. I’m opting out of worrying about whether or not I should be gathering everyone together for the sake of a holiday whose creator would’ve been furious about how we all now jump around like crazies in the name of ‘honoring moms’ with forced gifts and crowded overly-expensive brunches. Draw me a picture. Write me a card. Pick a rose and stick it a Dixie cup. (My daughters do this and it instantly melts me.)
The biggest thing I’m learning as a mom is this: Every year is different — it’s up to us to spend Mother’s Day in a way that serves what we need for each particular year, as moms and women.
I will wake up this Mother’s Day morning without a rush of ‘let’s do this.’
I will take my kids to church and teach my Sunday School Kindergarten class like I do every week.
We will come home and turn on music in our backyard.
I will water my mini-rose garden — simply because it makes me happy.
I will float in my brand new pool on my daughters’ giant gold unicorn (a fun surprise Grandpa bought for one of their recent birthdays).
I will think about my own mom’s ongoing advice [before her passing]: “You make sure you take care of what you want in this life” — it was her lifelong, no-nonsense wisdom that prompted me to steamroll my husband into building our new pool (using much of my own, hard-earned money) after a particularly awful 2018.
This Mother’s Day I will guiltlessly decline plans anyone other than my husband and children make so that I may simply honor and appreciate being ME — the good parts, the hard parts, the offbeat parts that stick roses into cheesecakes as an experiment. Immediate family only, please… with my pool that now smiles at me as the ultimate symbol of self-motivated self-care.
This Mother’s Day, I will just be me. I hope that you will be you too… whatever this year might call for.
DO YOU. (Pool not necessary.)