Cancel Mother’s Day?

The traffic light was red. I took advantage of being stationary to look at the back cover of the library book I had just picked up for my children. Big mistake. By the time the light turned green, I was crying so hard that I needed to pull over to the curb.

Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan was both a 1986 Newberry winner and a 1986 Scott O’Dell Award winner for Historical Fiction. It is a fine book and one that I was happy to have my children read. As the back cover explained, it is a story based in the 1800s about a woman coming out from the east coast to the American prairie to marry a man whose wife died in childbirth. The widower, the little boy who never knew his mother, and the older little girl need a woman’s presence. Sarah is the pragmatic answer to that problem.

I was about seven months pregnant with our fifth child when I read that blurb and the idea of a mother dying in childbirth hit my hormone-suffused body. It took a while until I stopped sobbing. Then I dried my eyes, laughed a little at my overreaction, and drove home.

There was no trigger warning on the book, nor did I contemplate calling the library and demanding one. I did, however, dredge up this memory when I received an email from an online craft store sporting this message:

“We understand that this time can be difficult. If you’d prefer not to receive Mother’s Day emails, you can opt out by simply clicking below.”

Excuse me? There are certainly women who desperately want to be mothers and have not been so blessed. There are mothers who are estranged from their children. Mother’s Day may well be painful for them. There are also way too many children who do not know their fathers and, indeed, many school districts do not celebrate Father’s Day for this reason. Flags flying on the Fourth of July might bring tears to the eyes of a bereaved family whose son was recently killed in a military action and buried under that flag. Thanksgiving is sad for those with no family or friends. In a similar vein, Tuesdays can be problematic for anyone whose candidate lost an American election and lunchtime is difficult for those battling an eating disorder. What part of life does not have the potential to stir up sad or troubling emotions?

American society has managed to raise too many individuals who cannot handle life. Anything and everything is a trigger to anxiety, anger, and annoyance. The solution to this is not to embark on a futile quest to eradicate all potential problem areas; it is to allow each of us our personal tears and then let us know that after we cry we must keep on driving and carry on living joyous lives.

P.S. Our own family does not make a big deal of Mother’s Day, seeing it as too little a response for a family that needs to be reminded of the importance of a mother and unnecessary for those families who live out that recognition every day. But, if Mother’s Day is under threat of cancellation, then we may need to start paying attention to it. I hope you find something special to give to the mother in your life in our Mother’s Day sale. The sale is scheduled for next week, but I have asked our team to turn it on early for Musing readers – $5 off each book picked especially for mom.

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Early bird announcement for Musing readers!
Shop the Mother’s Day Sale before anyone else!

$5 off each of these books
(up to $25 savings if you get them all!)

Chart Your Course Journal
Dear Rabbi and Susan
Soul Construction
The Skeptic and the Rabbi
Thought Tools Set (3 volume set)

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