It all started beautifully as a day designed by lovely Anna Jarvis in 1908, who held a memorial for her own Mother, birthing a new tradition. And yet, in recently times, it seems to have been a little hijacked by the usual suspects: greeting card companies, gift shops and just general consumerism. But is it the only way?
It seems that there has been celebrations of mothers and motherhood since the ancient times, from Mothering Sunday in the UK, to the Roman Festival of Hilaria (the cheerful ones: my personal fave).
We can get all cross about the expectation and annoyance of being “forced” to pay homage to our Mums, either by material gifts or gifts of our time, or we can stop for a moment and think. Think about the joy of conception (ew), the gift of birthing and ruined pelvic floors, and the ongoing sacrifices that many Mums make for their kids every day. Some of those are seemingly small- like making lunches when they’d rather sleep in, or driving kids to sport when they’d rather have a wine- through to big ones, like school fees, travel opportunities and first cars.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, I think most of us know that our mothers love us in a way that defies all comprehension. The depth is something that can’t be described, other than to say that having a child is like walking around with your heart outside your body, with all of the vulnerability, fear, love and pride that entails. I remember speaking to my son about war when he was five, and he said, “If only everyone remembered that every soldier has a Mummy, then they wouldn’t kill each other, because all the mummies would be so, so sad.”
He’s right. And if everyone remembered how the mummies feel about their kids, they would engage in hilarity, like in the Festival of Hilaria. Cheerful. Lighthearted. Fun.
Cheers to all the mums and all the children in this week of post-Mother’s Day reflection.
May you be laughing loud, laughing bold.