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.