It's Mother's Day, again. For the past few weeks, even months, stores have been stuffed with Hallmark cards and little tin boxes filled with candy, and every advertisement, whether on a billboard or on NBC, has been in some way related to what has culminated to today. And inside the homes of millions in the country today, fathers will serve as sidekicks, constantly handing out reminders; "Be nice to your mother."
Yes, the holiday might seem quite manufactured, with a good percent of its purpose being commercial; it's the kind of holiday that I have scorned in the past, a 'card company holiday'. They might as well but up a billboard or an intermission segment on television listing the sponsors in a deep male voice that could only belong to automated machines with text-to-speech capabilities. But despite all this, I have to admit that mothers deserve at least a day of limelight and appreciation, if not a week or two. Being a daughter myself, I know that my own mother went through days of hell with some disagreement or the other, or with my uncooperative temper, even with my always tangled hair.
With all that said, I like to consider myself lucky. My mother herself has a P.H.D in Operations Research, and somehow had the courage to withstand being the only girl in a classroom of perhaps hundred boys or so, during the time she did her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. Now, she's considering starting her own business. And despite these lofty qualifications, we are likely as close as it gets; we have bonded through our mutual love of subjects like mathematics, doing problems till past midnight just for the fun of it, and through our shared taste in music. She also keeps me company in my petite state, even though she seems to be the source of the gene. Through the years, she has taught me so much, while still balancing a full time job on her hands-- and though even today, she still manages to remind me to be a well-rounded person, not doing too much of anything (especially when it comes to my serial writing tendencies), I'm glad I have her, if only to showcase on this little site. Over the years, I have gotten her a pair of Nikes, written her a poem, carved her a wooden heart and painted it with sloppy letters(which was back in the third grade).
But every year on Mother's Day, somewhere, I'll find a post or an article in which the author, in extensively frustrated tones, curses his or her mother. While I sincerely hope I don't find one today, it had me thinking about what being a mother meant. A year ago, on the Friday preceding the day, a friend wished me a happy Mother's Day.
As you can imagine, my expression was thoroughly quizzical, as up until then, I'd barely even considered the distant possibility of being a mother, let alone been one. The only way I'd ever been involved in the Mother's Day concept was by being a daughter. What on earth do you mean? I said.
My friend, though, had her reasons. She explained to me that since I was a writer-- not a published one, though-- and since I'd tirelessly worked at bringing my characters through their confusions, bad days, and struggles, I at least deserved a half invitation to the event of the day. Brainchildren, I thought. Did they still count as real children?
The truth is that I am quite close to my characters; I carry a sort of affection, even love, for them, and if anyone were to speak against them, it's likely I'd explode. I help my characters through their struggles because I care for them as friends-- the word children seems a tad far fetched to me. Yes, I might be crazy. No, that fact doesn't really change much.
So, after much thinking, I've come to the conclusion that if you've ever nurtured anyone-- anything-- selflessly, not deserted them for 'personal' reasons or because helping them tired you, congratulations. Happy Mother's Day to you.
On a separate note, my mother has pitched in for an iPod touch for her mother, a music teacher. Knowing my grandmother to be old-school, I find it a tad comical, but we'll see where it goes.