Saturday, 9 May 2015

Obligation Day

As I wait for my next load of wash to finish and be ready to hang on the line, I cannot help remembering my mother’s intense interest in the weather prospects for washing. She studied the forecasts (even then they were much less precise back then) with a view to planning her housework around her prospects for drying the clothes on the line. She categorized weather, her highest praise for a fine day being to label it as a ‘blanket day’; that is, a sunny and low humidity day with a good stiff breeze, perfect for bringing in soft and fluffy blankets from the line. Today is not a real blanket day: it is hot, but humid and with only a faint breeze. My sheets are out on the line, however, and a load of whites is almost ready to go.

When I do laundry I remember my mother. When I pick up one of her treasured books from my office bookshelves, plant annuals in the flower beds, find a grammar error ( my own as well as others), spread tomato relish on something, put cold water on  my wrists on a hot day, go to a play, all these actions are something my mother taught me or bequeathed me. I do not remember her illness and final decline but rather cherish the vital woman who raised me, but also did so much more with her life. And I do not need Mother’s Day to do this.

As a matter of fact, the celebration somewhat grates on me. We have sent flowers and a card to JG’s 98 year old mother who is not enjoying the twilight years of her life very much. She does still enjoy flowers. And we get them to her fairly often. Mother’s Day is just another chance to do that. And send a card. I find myself thinking that the card makers, florists and restaurants must have created this event. And many retailers jump on the bandwagon. (Give your mother perfume; here are lots of photos of the bottles so that you can choose. Right!) I guess the day is a reminder. But it can also be a burden to daughters, two of whom, my frantically busy ‘girls’, are heading off on the hour+ drive to here, bringing dinner. Because it is The Day.

Not that I don’t appreciate having dinner catered, or catching up with the flying daughters. I really do. But it might be nice for them to be able to fit this sort of thing into their schedules instead of feeling they have to do it right now in the middle of the end of the academic year and a pretty hectic time at the YD’s government department.

In my case, on the next beautiful sunny and breezy day, I will hang the blankets out on the line and feel thankful. In both cases, I will feel loved. What more can you ask.


  1. My own mother didn't much care for MD; she thought it a Hallmark-generated holiday. But if your daughters view it as an obligation (which I doubt), they certainly do not see the pressure as coming from YOU.

    1. Large containers of food being carried into the kitchen. Yeah!

  2. PS I love reading about the parts of your mother that you carry with you.

  3. You took care of your own obligation -- to remember and credit your mother -- very well in this post. Have a very good day, MG.

  4. Oh, Mary, well said! I could not agree more or have stated my own thoughts more clearly about the Holiday.

    As you know, I detest Obligation of any sort, and to have my status as a mother become one to my sons is the epitome of my dread in that regard. Makes it like a punishment.

    Rather, as you so eloquently narrated, so many things about Motherhood should be a grace and a legacy. The lives my sons lead should be a gift to me daily. The memories they take away from me, even now, should be a gift for us both.

    Lovely post. Thank you so much.

  5. I don't like Mother's Day -- it's just a way for corporations to get consumers to buy stuff. I see my mother several times each week -- and I see my grown kids really often. We don't need a holiday to tell us to pay attention to each other.

  6. Well said and I agree. Your mother sounds like a wonderful friend and companion. Here's hoping you had a happy "obligation day"