Saturday, May 8, 2010

Why Celebrate Mother's Day?

It's easy to become cynical about Mother's Day. It's a "Hallmark Holiday," exploited by the greeting card companies and the flower growers and the telephone companies, all for the purpose of separating you from your money.

There are pressures - did you get a good card? What about the gift? Flowers, or are they too much of a cliche? What about candy? Or is she on a diet at the moment? And the kids, did you make sure they got their mom something?

So why celebrate Mother's Day at all?

Here's why, at least in my case:

- The two emotionally and physically painful miscarriages my wife suffered through before we were able to have our first child. Sometimes it's important to remember the bad times in order to appreciate the good.

- The time we had to sit in a doctor's sterile and intimidating office and try not to break down when we heard him say we should start adjusting to the unfortunate reality that she was probably going to lose a third baby. She refused to accept the diagnosis and that tiny life growing inside her, against all odds, ended up being our daughter Kristin, now finishing her Freshman year at Quinnipiac University.

- The horrifying moments immediately after Kristin's birth, when doctors were unable to stop the bleeding and my wife almost died. It's easy to say we would "die" for something, almost a cliche really, but this mother nearly did.

- The years of giving things up - money, time, sense of self, for her children. We all have a mother, and in the vast majority of cases, we will never fully know or appreciate how much she sacrificed for us. And unlike the stereotypical guilt-pushing mother sitcoms love to foist on us, most real moms make their sacrifices with quiet dignity, expecting - and often getting - little or nothing in return.

Happy Mother's Day. And don't spend so much time worrying about whether to get a funny card or a serious one, whether to go out to eat at a fancy restaurant or at Taco Bell, whether to get flowers or candy or something different. Tell her you love her and appreciate her. That's what she really wants. It's what she deserves.

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