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Does Mother’s Day mean leave mother alone?

Last Sunday’s Mother’s Day was enjoyed by many who had cause to celebrate with the motherly figures in their lives, whether biological or not. Those of us who have lost our mothers even think deeply about them on such a day remembering the good days we had together.

As usual, it is one occasion that has been highly commercialised. Remembrance gifts from natural flowers, gift cards, lunch, brunch or dinner out do feature prominently on the day.

The occasion has typically been hyped in the media; hospitality businesses, for example, give it a colourful attraction to sell their products and services with well-captured advertising.

Judging from the busyness around town, the euphoria so created that even some churches find space on their programmes of the day to honour the women in their congregation makes one believe that motherly figures are loved unconditionally.

But as such cherished persons, dead or alive, be celebrated thus publicly, only on Mother’s Day or is it symbolic of everyday celebration?

Varied views

While unconditional love is a true description of a mother’s love, some sincerely believe that mothers and all those celebrated widely on the day would prefer to enjoy some quietness in their lives on such a day. That is the view of some I spoke or texted to. Given the choice, they indicated that they would want to be left alone to enjoy a quiet time at home while they reflect.

As I bounced this off a few motherly figures for their views, I got varied views. Not surprisingly though, the relatively younger mothers spoken to preferred to enjoy the attention and love showered on that specific day. On the other hand, the much older ones believe a quiet time substitution would be a better idea.

A few more also believed that Mother’s Day celebration has become too commercialised and unduly expensive. They do not think it should be celebrated as it is being done now since not everybody can afford it.

Though they appreciate the recognition given to motherly figures on such a day, they also believe the money spent could be used for more meaningful expenses in the family or given to orphanages. In their minds, they believe the expenses connected with the day should be channelled towards highlighting the contributions of women to the growth and prosperity of families, children and communities in need.

To all of this, a social media post which asked the question, “So it’s all over?” puts the discussion on leaving mothers alone on Mother’s Day in a better perspective. The social media question was referring to the day after the Mother’s Day euphoria which seemed to have afforded many families the photo opportunities and selfies with the mother or grandmother at the centre of the celebration on the day.

The fun of Mother’s Day is all over in a day, parked and picked up one year after. Unfortunately, that is the reality of today’s life where work and other exigencies seem to have taken away the joy of family closeness.

Mobile phones, social media, zooms, facetime and the like have taken a chunk of all that closeness away. One seems to be living remotely from one’s parents.

Other days

Interestingly, the next step of the social media post gave a picture of “Other days”, capturing a more vivid picture of the reality of loneliness.  In the picture is a miserable lonely-looking mother sitting on her cough, alone, with nobody around her just the day after all that celebration. All the fun had vanished into thin air.

The void created in the Mother’s life would be taken over by live-in helpers and caregivers. They take complete charge and decide what to cook and serve at meal times. They decide when to switch the television and lights off and send everyone to bed and they are in control as to when to wake you up.

They are not substitutes for real love due to a mother figure and can hardly fill the void.

The reality of what happens on other days after Mother’s Day could be a sad one for some mothers and grandmothers. The world of loneliness especially where they probably have lost a husband, siblings and close friends, dawns on them daily.

So dressing them up one day and saying we are celebrating you because it is Mother’s Day may not mean much to them. They want to be alone in their thoughts.

Mother’s Day ideally, should be an everyday event, celebrated 365 days of the year. The photo opportunities and the selfies should be captured all year round.

A meaningful Mother’s Day should, in reality, be a modest celebration all year round for Mothers even if it means coming home to cook their favourite meals for them or schedule regular meaningful times together.

One is beginning to understand why some people leave instructions of no wreaths, no tributes, no funeral celebrations, no donations and the like when they die.

Writer’s email: vickywirekoandoh@yahoo.com

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