When my first born was 3 months my husband bought me a card saying “thanks for all the milk”. Would sound nauseating to some, but was adorable to me. Tons of brownie points for the hubby to have remembered the date and organised a card!
Not falling for the marketing gimmick of giving retailers another excuse to shove the discounted goods in our face, we decided not to indulge into these “special days”. We must instead save up for birthdays or anniversaries or maybe just that tuesday when we want to stop everything and have a party. There were no expectations or no rules.
But every year, my husband got the kids to think about the date. There were chocolates or lunch out or cards, there was even a poem one year and the best of all the extra hour in bed! (any mum with tots will know how much that hour is worth!) The date was never forgotten (with help from billboards, magazines, store adverts and commercials, ofcourse). The little team succeeded in making me feel like the best mum in the world.
And i cannot forget the efforts of the class teacher who worked through the art classes and made special cards and crafts with hand scribbled quotes (usually translated). I have had cards that came home with “thank you for letting me watch tv” and “for all the treats you bake” and for “cleaning up my mess” and the favorite “for hugging me every day”. Simple observations. A small insight into how your kids value your energy into their day. Priceless.
This mothers day a small conversation lead me to think how we ought to value these days with a little more zeal. A friends work colleague asked her for details on international flower deliveries. On intruding (as women do) she found out that he wanted to send flowers to his girlfriend of 5 years. She was traveling to Paris for an important work assignment and he wanted them delivered when she arrived at her hotel room (awwwww). It’s all about the thought put in to make sure that she felt loved and supported even if she was miles away. He mentioned, as a matter of fact, to my friend, because my father always did.
That thought stuck in my head for hours afterwards. It also reminded me of my childhood. Growing up in India we did not celebrate mothers day until i was in university, it was not a big deal. Once, when my mum got promoted from organic chemistry lecturer to head of department, i remember my dad picking us up early from school. We stopped en route to pick up special treats from the bakery and got to mums university before she left for the day. She was so happy to see us and we were instantly part of her milestone. When she became principal to the university, my dad organised a surprise party the very next evening! When dad had to travel for work, mum would hide notes and special treats in his suitcase. My parents always planned surprises for each other. On one of my parents anniversary, my sister and i woke up at 6 in the morning (when you are a teenager that is criminal) and played my mums favorite song on stereo. They woke up to candles and flowers and cheap perfume. Bought with pocket money saved up for weeks. The cheap perfume was never used, but my parents were euphoric knowing we had worked and saved to make them feel special.
The presents are not what is important, its the act, the effort, the thought of wanting to let someone know what you mean to them. If a family grows up valuing each other, it helps build the ethics you want in your children. Our children imitate us. Well mine do, a lot. Specially the bad habits (a whole other blog post). A small gesture of making a meal or knowing when someone needs a hug or laughing at the bad jokes, goes a long way. Grinding in the mundane must be broken once in a while to stop and share a smile as a team, as a family.
Celebrating a specific commercial day or anniversaries or landmarks, become a useful date in the diary reminding us of what our loved one’s mean to us and how we can let them know that our day is not complete without them.
Happy mothers day to all the mothers out there.