Archive for the ‘Family Nonsense’ Category

Mother’s Day …

Sunday, May 10th, 2009


Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May, when we pause for a short while to  acknowledge the most important person in the world–your mother.  What follows is a short account about how it came to be.

Back on May 1, 1864 in the tiny town of Webster, West Virginia, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis gave birth to a little girl she named Anna Jarvis. The family moved to the short distance to Grafton, West Virginia in her childhood.

On May 12, 1907, two years after Anna’s mother died, Anna Jarvis organized a memorial to her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton–passing out 500 white carnations–and then made it her personal quest to establish “Mother’s Day” as a recognized holiday–which it became in 1914. The International Mother’s Day Shrine was established in Grafton to commemorate Anna Jarvis’ accomplishment.

But from there, an interesting plot twist takes over–in the 1920s Anna Jarvis incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association, claimed copyright on the second Sunday of May, and was even arrested once for disturbing the peace. She invested her family inheritance campaigning against the holiday–until she died blind and penniless in 1948.

According to Anna Jarvis’ New York Times obituary, she became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card. As she said, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother-and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!”

Anna Jarvis never married and had no children. She died in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and is buried next to her mother in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Today, Mother’s Day ranks only behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day in terms of spending–it is credited with nearly $15.8 billion in retail sales:  flowers, restaurant (it is the number one eating-out holiday of the year), jewelry, and heaven help us if we should ever forget–greeting cards.

And Mother’s Day is today–the second Sunday in May.   Thus, unless you’ve already done this, you need to go now and buy a printed card, so you don’t have to write one yourself, and take a box of your favorite candy to your Mom … maybe she’ll give you a glass of milk to wash it down with.

But don’t worry about embittering your twenty-first-century mother. Our Moms already know we’re brats–and love us in spite of it. However, they might be troubled should you let the day pass without at least acknowledging, no matter how superficially, some of the suffering we’ve put them through.

If your Mom’s no longer with you, then acknowledge somebody else’s mother–maybe the mother of your grandchildren, or the mother of your neighbor’s kids, or the mother of your niece or nephews. Just do it.

Happy Mother’s Day.

It Just Makes Sense.

Kids Are From Jupiter

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

As challenging as it is for a man and woman–who love each other–to get along. It is nearly insurmountable to come to grasp with how to get along with your kids.

Dr John Gray wrote the famous Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus book in 1993. In it he points out some differences between men and women–besides the obvious–and argues that happier relationship can be achieved by acknowledging and accepting them. It sold a lot of copies back then and is still popular today. Some folks say it actually helped their lives. I remember giving it a try back then, but we gave up on it and just decided to have kids. Now if someone could just write a guide on how kids differ from parents, that might be worth reading–if it revealed how to get along with them.

They must be from Jupiter. Think about it.

Jupiter is the most massive planet in the solar system, which is pretty much symbolic of how much the average parents think about their kids. Even as an empty-nester, you can get all dressed up and go out on the town–and what do you talk about?

Your kids. You can’t help yourselves.

Jupiter has four planet-sized moons and at least 59 smaller moons. That would represent all the friends your kids have, that you don’t know about. They have names like Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. They sound like street names for a bunch of other-people’s kids. And your kids spend more time with their friends than they do with you. Just like Jupiter.

According to NASA, Jupiter resembles a star. Most kids believe they are stars–or even superstars. But alas, Jupiter would need to be about eighty-times more massive to actually become a star. Now does that explain it all? Your kids think they’re a star, but they really don’t have what it takes to become one. Yeah, that was mean. So what?

Did you notice the famous red spot? It supposed to be a huge storm. Maybe it represents the anger our kids have because they’re not natural stars. Then again, it might represent the growing popularity of tattooing, piercing and notching–attracting attention through tribal-like marring of their bodies. Or maybe it just represents self-induced chaos. What ever it stands for–it seems like it applies to our kids.

Jupiter’s year is much longer that Earth’s year. Maybe that is why it takes kids five or six years to finish a four-year degree. And because they are in a distant orbit, they take a lot longer to get around the Sun. No matter how much advice you give them, it seems they have to go their own way.

Eventually, they get where they’re going. Maybe it’s all for the better. Jupiter in all likelihood needs to stay where it is.

If Jupiter tried to move in close and share our orbit, there’d probably be some sort of a collision and precious little room left for us. And then nobody would be happy.

It just makes sense.