May 14, 2007

It turns out that Mother's Day is a fantastic holiday!

Really, I had no idea. I always just sort of lumped it into a general hallmark-holiday category: something manufactured out of nothing to make people spend money, or feel guilty for not spending more money. But I was wrong! Mother's Day is really excellent!

Or at least, my mother's day was. It probably didn't hurt that it was a gorgeous spring day in Chicago, so everyone was feeling all chipper and friendly. But I was actually really moved by how many people--complete strangers, as well as family--who went out their way to be kind, and to wish me a happy day. I really felt as though my little world was acknowledging that something I was doing was both hard, and important. I was commenting on this to my downstairs neighbor who said, "of course! Mothering is a gift to the world!" And it sort of made me want to cry.

Not that mothering is the only thing that is a gift; that is important and hard. But still.

Also, yet another awesome downstairs neighbor pointed out to me that Mother's Day did not come out of nowhere; it came out of a particular impetus to channel the energy of mothers into political activism. You can read all about it on Wikipedia, but here is a tidbit from Julia Ward Howe's 1870 "Mother's Day Proclamation:"

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Say what you will about identity politics; I think that's sort of grand.

No comments: