Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May Day

Didn’t we just have Mother’s Day…last year?  It’s the only holiday that seems to come around as frequently as Halloween.  But Mother’s Day has come and gone.  I survived.    I’m not sure exactly why I anticipate this event with a lack of zeal. I understand why the term MAY DAY is universally recognized as a distress call. I’m submitting a proposal to Congress that MOTHER’S DAY would be a fitting substitution. 

Actually, I don’t know any mother who really likes Mother’s Day.  It isn’t even a real holiday.  It’s an occasion manufactured by flower vendors, jewelers, chocolatiers and greeting card  companies to suck the bucks from our pocketbooks.  I’m not averse to getting a plethora of gifts.  No siree.  I always remind my family that they can never repay me for all I’ve done. Nevertheless, they should keep trying.  But it’s all so commercial.  Advertisers peddle everything from flowers to backhoes to show Mom our love.  Personally, I don’t want any of that stuff.  I just want to be obeyed! 

I’m sure motives for contriving such an observance in the first place were pure.

But things have changed so much since then.  And this is not necessarily change we can believe in. And speaking of change, I read recently that Thelma Lou, Barney Fife’s girlfriend, was robbed…right in Mayberry.  She’s 83.  Dang it!  Things really HAVE changed. She can’t be 83.  That would make me…even younger.  If Thelma Lou can be mugged, WE’RE ALL GONNA’ DIE!

Ah, but I digress.  Evidence of approaching Mother’s Day is ubiquitous.

Recently at Costco’s, the place was crowded with people loading baskets with plants, bouquets, women’s apparel and cookbooks.

But one man in particular caught my attention because he stood out from the throng.  He was pushing a flatbed cart heavily laden with countless stacks of paper plates and reams of toilet paper.  That cart was so burdened with these items, the wheels groaned under the strain.  I wanted to stop him and inquire as to the purpose of his purchase. Why these items in these quantities?

Then it hit me.  These were Mother’s Day gifts of truest appreciation.  He was the only person in Costco who really gets this occasion.  His was a graphic representation of what mothers really do – feed the gut and wipe the butt!  I doubt Hallmark will put that little couplet on a greeting card.  Pity. 

Now, I don’t mean to seem cynical or appear as the anti-June Cleaver.  But sometimes this occasion celebrates moms without really appreciating them.  And all the tributes can make us misty-eyed and feeling guilty for not measuring up to all the tributes.  It’s a conundrum.

I swore an oath that I would not get entangled in all the sentiment this year.  I would not get tripped up by those tender recollections that close off the throat.

I attended our daughter’s church where our grandkids were singing tributes to all the mothers in the congregation.  Abram and Josh sang lyrics that went, “Heavenly Father has sent me to you-wooh,” all the while making gagging gestures and rolling their eyes.  In the meantime, Asher the Basher was body-slamming the kid next to him with such blunt force, the child was on the floor dazed and traumatized. The line of children trying to maintain their balance had an erratic ripple where the little hoodlum was standing.  He managed to stop head butting only long enough to pick his nose.

Dennis was laughing uncontrollably, while I was trying to recall any documented cases of insanity in my family’s genetic make-up.

Usually Mother’s Day is to be tolerated, not celebrated.  But this year, I observed the occasion, and enjoyed it.  I have decided that childhood and motherhood are both excellent institutions.  It seems the faster we go, the less time we have to spare. I’m grateful we slowed down enough to hear kids sing songs to mothers that make us laugh while it tugs at the heartstrings.

Now I will begin the new week.  Things will return to normal.  I’ll clean up the clutter from Sunday’s commemoration.  I’ll put away the dishes, dispose of the diapers and wipe viscous secretions from noses.  Monday it’s back to paper plates and toilet paper.