And then it was quiet...
Yes, I admit that I refer to Mother's Day as "the fake holiday". It's true that I don't have a lot of regard for a day which, while making a ton of money for Hallmark, seems to bring our culture no closer to anything resembling genuine respect or admiration for the the portion of the population that supplies you (me/us/everyone) with an increased quality of life...as well as life itself.
When it's time to celebrate Father's Day, what do we do? Hmmm....well...women put in a full day's work at the office and then come home and do the same. We shop for the groceries and plan the celebration. We cook and clean for the company that we'll host. We buy and wrap the gifts and then after everyone leaves...we clean up the mess.
But when it's time for Mother's Day, what happens? In many cases I see women doing the exact same thing as they did for Father's Day...except they don't buy their own gift. See, those of us mothers who are still in the trenches? Many of us have mothers who are still living and worthy of their long-ago accomplishments as the primary caregivers of children. But who is going to do all the work?? This question seems to throw so many men into a huge quandry. Who indeed? Cleaning? Shopping for food and preparing a meal? PLUS a gift??? How can we do all this? Wouldn't it be easier just to take everyone out to dinner?
See...it seems to be easy to celebrate multiple generations of Father's Day honorees because the gender which supplies so much of the unsung "MAN-power", in addition to making the money that makes so many other things possible, is doing what they always do every day of the year. When you stop to consider what a total SHUTDOWN of tradition it requires to pay the same kind of homage to women...well...maybe you see my point. It isn't the same. And while you probably won't see too many guys cooking their own Father's Day dinner, I've seen more than my share of women contributing to a dinner that honors their own mothers while simultaneously cancelling out the intent of the celebration for their own role as a mother.
My own Mother's Day was spent with my parents and Mr. Half's parents and my sister and her family. Yes, I shopped for some of the food and I cleaned the house, but Mr. Half did as well. Mr. Half cooked burgers and all of the sons cleaned their rooms and did yardwork. The oldest son made a fabulous apple cobbler and the middle son did the dishes with his dad while I sat in the back and watched an episode of "I Love Lucy" with my mother and sister.
All in all...it was a good day. Better than most Mother's Days wherein tradition reared its ugly head and too many females wound up scraping dishes after the feast and the gift opening. Still, the grocery store was filled with women...a couple still sporting their Mother's Day corsages...slogging through the store getting food and toilet paper that others were unwilling or unable to buy. I saw a man in the parking lot flying a kite with his kid. Maybe he was giving the wife a few minutes alone to breath and form a coherent sentence while he took the kid out for some fun. Most likely she was one of those in the store doing the shopping for the meal. I wanted to scream at him, "Get your country ass home and make your wife a meal for a change"...but lacking the proper information I only cursed him under my breath. But in a nice way.
The men in my house are learning what it means to appreciate the one person in our house whose endless list of mind numbing responsibilities doesn't get consistently validated by a Boy Scout merit badge, or a big fat A+ or even a nice paycheck. I hope it's a lesson they'll take with them. Because it's only when women take the day off that certain others are made to realize how much of the sky we really hold up. Think how great life would be if we didn't have to spend the other 364 days trying to keep them from forgetting.