Yeah, we know it’s past Mother’s Day, but we didn’t have the heart to post this in the midst all of the heartfelt sentiment and beautiful displays of affection.
We love everyone in our lives who has a uterus: our mothers, our mothers-in-law, my sister, our children, our aunts, our sisters-in-law, and even each other. Truth be told, we had lovely celebrations on that Sunday, but you know Mother’s Day can make you a little twitchy.
Here’s that point of view.
Erin–May has caused Ellen to crack. She has rounded the bend. She has flown off the merry-go-round. She has left the building.
She just whirled through my house Tazmanian-devil style, and now she is sprawled on my couch like she is paying me by the hour.
Ellen— My calendar is killing me! The activities themselves—they’re pretty wonderful—but they are crammed into my schedule like clowns in a Fiat.
Erin– And they keep coming one after another in a relentless assault on time, patience, and sanity. It can make you feel a little overwhelmed and under-loved.
Ellen–It makes ME feel like I have an elbow lodged up my arse.
Erin– Melodrama much?
Ellen—Where’s the love? I have a to-do list from here to Tuesday that isn’t going anywhere, and I have shot myself in the foot because I left my ever-loving purse at home. So now I must drive past the nursery, because I can’t even buy my Mother’s Day plants. One more thing unchecked on my to-do list. One more reason to sink into this couch and hide.
Erin- I did offer to give you money…
Ellen- … but your four crinkled dollar bills and Wal-Mart receipt would not have taken me as far as I needed to go.
Erin- You know MacGyver could fashion one beauty of a Mother’s Day gift with a pack of gum and some duct tape.
Ellen – Oh, I know what I could do with some duct tape right now. I’m giving you notice. Forget that other idea we had for next week’s post!
Erin– The one we both agreed was perfect and reasonable, and oh, how shall I say it, sensible?
Ellen– Forget all of it! This is going to be my finest hour.
This is going to be . . .
Erin– Your Alamo. (Ellen’s look of death) Still not helping?
Ellen–This isn’t my last stand. THIS is going to be my “whipping” post.
Erin- Oh, that’s sooo much better (read sarcasm LOUD AND CLEAR) but remember Ellen is fraying at the edges, so let’s just humor her.
Ellen– Mother’s Day is like a snake eating its tail! The celebrated are the celebrators, and the end result: You just get bitten in your ass.
Who started this holiday anyway? I think it was a Hallmark Conspiracy.
Erin – There is something kind of messed up about a holiday where you are supposed to be the guest of honor AND the party planner.
But the cards the kids make are cute and sometimes they give flowers. And don’t forget the chocolates.
Ellen–Oh, yes, they are just the best (read MY sarcasm Loud and clear), says my fat ass. ‘Cause nothing says “I love you” like an extra inch on the derriere.
Erin—This is worse than I thought. She’s turning on chocolate.
Ellen-Where can we stop the honoring?
Erin- Seriously, who gets to wear the tiara on the “big day?” Since Hallmark pretty much includes any person with lady parts on the list of honorees, it makes it a little tough to figure out.
Ellen–When you are a new mother, the dirty secret is you don’t want a crown or a scepter, you just want to be left alone.
Erin—Preferably with a box of wine and a book. (Ellen’s raised eyebrow) It’s real wine.
Ellen– I’m sure it is.
Erin- But when you are old, all you want to do is gather everyone to your bosom.
Ellen— It’s a generational tug o’ war. Don’t forget choosing between your family and the in-laws.
Erin– That tug o’war rope might make a lovely noose.
Don’t forget the landmines some of us are sidestepping on this “special day” like death, divorce, infertility, dysfunction, and estrangement.
Ellen- Whoa. I gotta lay down again.
Erin – Do you need a cold cloth?
Ellen- What I need is a scapegoat! Oh magic Google, who got us into this mess?
Erin– Ellen might have left the ranch at this point.
Ellen – Check this out! This goes on and on about how this “holiday” has roots in ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek culture. I am not buying it. Do not pander to my intellectuality, you Mother’s Day machine!
Erin – Oh. My. Goodness.
Ellen- Okay, scrolling down. Here’s my target: Julia Ward Howe. This mess all started with her! This chick penned the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Erin – Impressive!
Ellen—And during the Civil War she called mothers to come together and protest the futility of sons killing sons.
Ellen- But her execution kinda flopped. She furthered her noble ideas with…parties.
The woman not only had to pay for her own party, but everyone else’s too. And once she stopped driving the gravy train, everyone bailed.
Erin- Sounds familiar.
Ellen- But this Mother’s Day idea won’t die. Fast forward to 1908. Our next perpetrator is Anna M. Jarvis. She CAMPAIGNED for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in remembrance of her mother and in honor of peace.
Erin—Oh my goodness, who has this kind of time?
Ellen- Well, remember, they didn’t have blogging back then.
Erin- Poor girl innocently started her campaign by giving flowers out in church.
Ellen –But apparently the flowers did what the Battle Hymn of the Republic could not. By 1909, while Mother’s Day was still not an official holiday, 46 states, Canada and parts of Mexico were celebrating it.
Erin – Ole, we made this misery multinational.
Ellen- But now in an extraordinary display of misplaced grief, Anna quit her job to promote this mess.
I don’t know if I can read anymore. (Arm on head, laying in supine position)
Erin – Where were her friends and neighbors to give her a reality check? She didn’t need to take this show on the road, she needed some love and attention. Kinda like Ellen right now.
Ellen- I’m fine. This is what incredulity with a side of defeat looks like. But it looks like her persistence paid off. She got somewhere. In 1912, West Virginia was the first state to make Mother’s Day official.
Erin—Aww, good for West Virginia. Mad props.
Ellen—And in 1914, Woodrow Wilson made it official.
Erin – Now it’s my turn for some incredulity! In the middle of the whole world war starting? Really?
Ellen—Maybe it was an economic move because listen to this: The Florist Review went so far as to print, “This was a holiday that could be exploited.”
It’s in quotes, it’s on the internet, it supports my point.
Erin–So it must be true.
Ellen—And truth is better than fiction. Now we get to the juicy.
Anna wigs out about all of the commercialization of her precious holiday. By 1923, she was SUING to stop Mother’s Day events.
Erin- Control freak much?
Ellen – It gets better! In the 1930’s, she was ARRESTED for disturbing the peace at the American War Mothers group. She was protesting their sale of FLOWERS. Hah!
Erin- Are you doing the math? This woman has been wrapped up in Mother’s Day for 2 decades. And now she’s going to jail over FLOWERS!
Ellen- But wait, she apparently has miles to travel before she is completely off the reservation.
The U.S. government chose to honor her mother with a postage stamp and did she just say “Thank you?”
No, she PROTESTED to get the words “Mother’s Day” removed.
Erin- Ouch! Way to turn on your creation, Dr. Frankenstein.
Ellen- Maybe she became aware of her freakishness over the flowers, because she moved onto bigger fish: copyrighting the words Mother’s Day.
Erin – There are no words. Were there support groups back then? Was she successful?
Ellen – Hell no! She had spent so much time anguishing over the floral industry that ship had sailed. And speaking of sailing ships, here is one of her last quotes.
[In opposition to the flower industry’s exploitation of the holiday]: “What will you do to route charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers, and other termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest, and truest movements and celebrations?”
Ellen- But the Florist Review had the last word, “Miss Jarvis was completely squelched.”
Erin- Like a termite?
Ellen –It’s in quotes.
Erin- So it must be true.
Do you want a glass of water?
Ellen – Wait! Here is the most cosmic karma part of it all! Anna Jarvis died in 1948—blind, poor, and childless.
Erin- It sounds like a bad country song. Should I laugh or cry? Those always throw me.
Ellen – (reading slowly) “Jarvis would never know that it was, ironically, The Florist’s Exchange that had anonymously paid for her care.”
Erin – It WAS a conspiracy. This is exactly why I want to drive the karma bus. Otherwise, you could end up under it.
Ellen – Yeah, I’m not paying you for this session.
Erin – You don’t have your purse anyway.
Ellen – But I’m getting the duct tape now.
Hope your Mother’s Day was just grand! Here are some happy pictures of us on the big day with our kids!
Aren’t our kids the cutest?? ; )
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski