Saturday, May 10, 2014

Hallmark Holidays

You can skip Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Independence Day. People may be a little confused, but they are not likely to get mad at you.

Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day. Skip those and you are starting something big. You must celebrate because if you do not, someone will be mad at you. And there are specific requirements -- a card, a gift, dinner. Hallmark has decreed it so.

I am not a fan of Hallmark Holidays. For one thing, I resent being made to feel that I must do anything. I do not like to be forced by society, or a company, to conform to their standards. If I want to celebrate, I will celebrate. Do not try to make me feel like I must. Because then I will rebel and I will not.

For another thing, these are great holidays for a small group of people, but hurtful to many others. In our attempts to celebrate one group of people, we inadvertently alienate many others.

For instance, Valentine's Day is wonderful if you are in a loving and stable relationship. For everyone else it is a reminder of what they do not have. The small group -- those in a relationship that they enjoy -- can celebrate. For others -- those who have lost a loved one, those in an abusive or neglectful relationship, those in no relationship but desiring to be in one, those who are separated from the one they love -- it is a vivid reminder of what they are missing.

The same goes for Mother's Day. For some women, this is not a happy day. There are those who desire to be a mother, but cannot for various reasons. There are those who choose not to be a mother, but feel left out or less than for this reason. There are those who have lost a child. There are those who have lost a mother. There are those who have placed a child for adoption or had their rights terminated involuntarily. There are those whose children are far away. There are those whose children are not in relationship with them.

For many reasons, Mother's Day can be a sad and hurtful day for many.

I am not sure what I want to accomplish with this post. Maybe it is just a rant against Hallmark Holidays. Maybe it is a rant against being forced to celebrate.

But maybe we can all remember that not everyone has a great Hallmark Holiday and we can be sensitive to that as we head into Mother's Day. As we go to our churches and celebrate. As we spend time with family to celebrate. As we talk to our friends. As we post on social media. As we wish others a Happy Mother's Day. Be mindful that not everyone can celebrate Mother's Day even though it is a seemingly mandated holiday.

Please think this over. It really does make a difference. Small things usually do.

Imagine being a single mom and sitting in a church service hearing ten points on how to be a good mother. Each and every point has something to do with your relationship to a husband.

Imagine not having children, whether by choice or not, and having someone wish you a Happy Mother's Day because they assume that at your age you must be a mother.

Imagine being one of the only women who must remain sitting when all the mothers are asked to stand to receive a flower at the Mother's Day service. Or, instead, you can be the one handing out the flowers. Smiling and wishing each mother a Happy Mother's Day all the while wishing you were receiving a flower, too.

Imagine being the woman who volunteers to watch the kids in the nursery every Mother's Day because watching the other women's children is much easier than sitting through another Mother's Day sermon.

Imagine grieving every Mother's Day for your children's first mom and the loss she must feel especially on this day.

I have personally experienced a few of these and have friends who have experienced some of the others. These are only a few of the hurtful things that can happen on Mother's Day. This can be a day filled with hurt. Please remember that and be sensitive to others this Mother's Day.

I am in no way saying that anyone should not celebrate Mother's Day, if that is their wish, or that anyone should feel guilty for being a happy mother. All I am asking is that we be mindful of those who may not care to celebrate or who may want to be able to celebrate with all their hearts but cannot do so. This is a small way that we can change our world.

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