Growing up, Mother’s Day was a regularly observed holiday in the house. We never did breakfast in bed because my parents had a waterbed, and that plus food was never a good idea. My Mom loved dirt, flowers, and semi-precious gemstones. Or anything that we wanted to give her. She was fairly flexible. I don’t remember what we did or didn’t get her.
I remember one year when the Bishop at the time planned to have his son’s mission farewell that Sunday and just to “skip” Mother’s Day that year. My father was the Executive Secretary, and while it didn’t sit that well with him, the idea of skipping Mother’s Day for some teenage boy made my mother furious. Instead of “skipping it,” my mother drew up a battle plan. We had a bunch of single-serving plastic yogurt cups left over from cups designed in the 90’s as upright, self-balancing containers. Store-brand, I’ve never seen anything like them outside of the DC area. We made a stack of them and counted one out for every woman over 18.
From there, my Dad had an old soldiering gun and he drilled three equidistant holes in the base rim of the clean cups. We added a mix of dirt, vermiculite, and wax begonias that would bloom all summer. There were different colors, and we had 5 or 10 more extra in case of need. Learned quickly to add just a little dirt at the bottom, then add the plant and barely more dirt, and not to water them. Just to place them in large overlapping squares of tissue paper and wrapped with a nice fabric ribbon. We did this a day or two before Church, but not much before because we knew that they would need water. We attempted to water one batch one year and learned that the drainage holes worked, so that stopped. From there, we stored them in boxes overnight, and delivered them to the women on Sunday. Told the women to take them home, remove the packaging, and water them immediately.
It was a hit and the Bishop was grateful to us since he really had no idea what to do to honor the sisters on Mother’s Day. Although he was highly educated, he learned much about women during his time as Bishop in that ward. The “Mother’s Day Flowers” became a tradition and we did it for at least three years after that. After those years, the Bishop figured out that women liked chocolate and decided to do that instead.
Mother’s Day had that tradition in my head until 2005, when my Mom passed. Two years later, life didn’t get worse but got a little awkward. Greeting card companies don’t have cards for new step-Moms who you barely know. I got the step diamond earrings that first year. From there, I got laid off, moved across the country, and generally tried to forget about Mother’s Day in general as it was a painful reminder that time passed when otherwise I was in stasis and numb.
Mother’s Day got more awkward once I got married and everyone expected me to be the person who should be celebrated. Even if they didn’t have the outright expectation, that’s what it felt like. No, I don’t have any children. Not sure if I ever will. Do I like children? I don’t have anything against them. I’ve never been the go-to person for babysitting. While I look forward to some day having kids with my husband, there are a lot of factors there including biology, economy, and other things that don’t need to be a part of a public blog.
Last year, I made Mother’s Day more of an “All-Women” day. The Bishop appreciated my choices, and liked things. Told me that he did and that I was diplomatic, but I asked why at least one of the hymns was unusually quiet. He and I both had no idea. Turns out that I got side-swiped by an over-reaching organist printing off his own version of a hymn, and then getting told off second-hand that my choices were not what people wanted for a day about MOM’s. Relief Society was a battleground that day, and I was just glad when it was over.
This year, I learned my lesson and decided to make the biggest gestures that I could. Miracle that it was, I found an appropriate card for the step, and made a point to remind the chorister to have the Primary Mother’s Day songs picked out before the chorister moved. At least six week’s time before deadline. The hymns were carefully picked from the Motherhood topical section. For the choir treat, I got something chocolate. Personally, having a small stash of chocolate-covered almonds on which to rely during a non-Fast Sunday on the hardest Sunday of the year for me literally got me through the day.
I also prepared for Sunday School and RS with bringing a project on which I could work. My version of an adult quiet book is crocheting/knitting the hours of Church away. May not be the best attitude ever, but I’m in the pew and for the worst Sunday of the year, that’s not a bad thing. My phone speakers worked for the practice hymn as all of the women were together and there was no piano, so that was also a mercy.
While I almost got blind-sided by a request by a senior missionary, I told her that I was not making any decisions that day and kept myself in good control. At the end of it all, the three people in there who are as sincere as pure glass talked with me quickly, and my husband and I gave a ride home to a new person who lived five minutes from us. While I wasn’t in a good mood over the course of the meetings in general just attempting to keep my emotions in some version of check, it could have gone a lot worse. I’m grateful that it’s done for the year.
Anyone who doesn’t think that I honor my mother should say it to my face. I do not guarantee violence, but they would get a sound tongue-lashing from me if they did. This was the first year that I posted my mother’s headstone as my facebook cover photo, and I got less commentary this year than any other. I believe that the lack of commentary at me about the day is a good reason to do this every year.
For my step-mother, I do the best that I can. For the mothers in the ward, I venerate their titles and positions. I’m NOT a mother, and I don’t take that title. Mother’s Day is a day for those who have either born, raised, or worked extensively with children and I have done none of those things. I believe that I have the eternal capacity for becoming a mother, but I don’t yet know if my biology will work that way and will not assume fertility or procreative abilities. In the end, it’s not women’s day. It’s MOTHER’S DAY. And I’m not there yet. Thanks for the chocolate, but technically, it doesn’t apply.