Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Mother insisted that we not send her cards on Mother's Day

My Mother never enjoyed getting cards on Mother's Day because Hallmark never made a card that that simply said "Have a happy Mother's Day".  In fact, neither did American Greetings or Gibson Greetings for that matter.

Since the card industry created this "holiday" - and is it really, I mean who gets "Mother's Day" off from work, or even gets the Monday following Mother's Day as Mother's Day Observed - they have been been laying on thicker and thicker every year.

The cards today say every over the top the sentiment imaginable.  Most seem to have the subtext of "Oh MOTHER, from thy loins I lept!" while others seem to go other other direction with verse that borders on Oedipal love and card verse in an over the top script that borders on font sex.

We were a dysfunctional non-demonstrative family, so choosing a card for her was a real pain.  Not because I didn't care, but none of them were simple enough.  With all that manufactured drama, it seemed insincere, and on her end it must have been as equally painful to read verse that was received as manufactured.

But she would always call and acknowledge the card and then the business of the holiday was done unless we opted to include a meal.

But after she hit 80, she started making it known that the cards really were a waste of money.  "Save your money and stop sending that stuff.  I know I'm your mother," she would opine.

For a while, we tried flowers, but that presented a bigger problem: she would complain about them.

Either they were too big, too expensive or they reminded her of funeral flowers.  One year she out did herself  in her call to us.

"These flowers are half dead and the water smells brackish," which was followed by "SAVE YOUR MONEY."

So eventually the flowers stopped, but the calls and the meals continued.

After her headstone was placed on her grave I planted red geraniums - her favorite - on her grave, but this year, now that we've moved, and with me being in Maryland for the first time, it will be a first that nothing got done for her grave.

When we visit later in the summer I drive back up to Marion and tend the family plot.  I will take a weed eater to trim around the head stones and brush to sweep the dried cut grass from the stones and I'll take a moment to miss her more than I do or she ever imagined.

But per her wishes, I will take no card and I will hold the flowers.


  1. You're Mother is a woman after my own heart! I abhored the same chore of tryng to find a simply worded card every May!

    1. Wasn't it the worst? Most stink of such insincerity. Now my father, HE wanted the card with adorations and he wanted me to sit down and watch Jack Lemmon and Robbie Benson in Tribute because her felt that was our relationship and would make me realize I loved him. Yes, I loved my father, but I didn't like him one bit.

  2. Your mother was really beautiful-- and I can't blame her about the sappy cards.

  3. I love your mother. :) And she was truly beautiful.

    I had an extremely painful relationship with my narcissistic mother, but not sending her a card was never an option. Yet you could send the most opulent, over-the-top, gushing card and it still would not have been enough. I refused to be a total hypocrite (I was ok with being a partial hypocrite) and always looked for the best invention ever: cards marked "Simply Stated". Just the facts, occasionally with my favorite, the passive-aggressive little dig “I hope you have the day you deserve.” lol Picking out cards, I would read the ones that said "Thank You for Everything". Nope. "Thank you for all you have done for me", which was a big fat nothing. Nope. "You are my best friend" Nope. And on and on. “Simply Stated” might as well be sub-titled “For all of us who rarely got what we needed from our damaged parents.”

    My mother died almost two years ago. I cannot believe how much I miss her.