Ever since my mother passed away in 2016 I have struggled with any family-related holidays and activities. Christmas, Easter and all the events that she took great pains to make special for me as a child are emotional torture. Even though I was an only child growing up in countries where we had no relatives at all to celebrate with, she went out of her way to make it as memorable and special as possible. Mommy was not particularly a stickler for tradition in the sense that things were repetitive year in and year out, but she did insist on certain old-school ideas which remain deeply ingrained in me.
Having attended Catholic schools for most of my childhood in Mexico, Mother’s Day was always a big thing. At the beginning of the school year we chose (or were assigned) our art projects that we worked on to have ready for Mother’s Day, to be presented during the mother-daughter mass. So to me, the concept of Mother’s Day was never a commercial trap to buy cards for the woman who moulded my soul, but rather, the inspiration behind my work.
I shake my head in disgust at the massive marketing campaigns all over the world for Mother’s Day, and belong to the faction that doesn’t believe that a beautiful Mother’s Day requires exorbitant gifts from a store or flower shop. All it requires is a loving child and a strong bond that transcends geographic and financial boundaries. Without it, Mother’s Day isn’t worth an iota of effort.
Yesterday was emotionally difficult for me as a daughter, not being able to pick up the phone an call my mom as I have always done. Even worse, spoiled mother that I am, to be apart from my daughter. For 19 years I was treated to breakfast made by someone else and then a meal out, no cooking and in many cases I spent a couple of hours in the spa. See what I mean by spoiled? But yesterday morning tears welled up as I made my breakfast and sat in the conservatory with my cats. The desolation and grief was overwhelming.
Towards mid-afternoon the doorbell rang and a cheerful young man stood there with a gorgeous bouquet that was thrust in my face. Deja vu. My dear daughter has now taken up the role of spoiling her mother from afar and sent me my all-time favourite flowers – peach roses.
It occurred to me that we have Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and even Grandparents’ Day in some countries, and India has the wonder Rakhi Festival that celebrates the bond between siblings, but why is there no special Daughter’s Day or Son’s Day? There are historical and religious reasons for the establishment of Mother’s Day (which dates back to 1908 in the USA and the 16th century in Europe) and Father’s Day (which actually dates back to the Middle Ages in Europe), but for the sons and daughters of the world who take on the role of caring for the ageing parents or prioritising their parents over their own families? Let’s just say that honouring a parent is well and good, and I wouldn’t dream of changing it, but once in a while the honorable role of dutiful and loving children should be highlighted.