Going into this long holiday weekend, I realized that the 4th of July did not revolve around mothers. Why not? You can keep Mother’s Day. I want no part of a holiday where I have to remind my kids to buy me a card. I shun the crowds at the Mother’s Day brunches. “Hey, Mom, sorry about giving you a ten hour labor, getting my front teeth knocked out the day after my braces were paid for, ruining your figure and sapping the vitality you once had. Here’s your complimentary mimosa.”
I really don’t want to make it that easy for my kids. They think they can just throw some carnations at me and pay me off? No way! Mothers deserve more than that!
We need some real holidays that Moms celebrate with one another, in our own way. I propose these holidays to Hallmark and calendar makers everywhere:
First Day of School Solstice/Festivus
This wonderful day is celebrated in the early autumn, once a year. Mothers everywhere prepare for weeks, getting their children haircuts and buying them shoes that will be outgrown by the time school starts. The high point of the holiday comes after the children board the school bus on the first day of school. Immediately after the busses are out of sight, conga linesform in neighborhoods across the country. Hooting and hollering while doing Daffy Duck-like handsprings,the mothers then commence building the ritual bonfire. Into the fire go the moldy slip and slides, the town pool badges, bottles of SPF 45 sunscreen and the summer playground program’s weekly activity schedule. The festivities are capped off in the evening by the annual “Filling Out of the School Forms” bacchanal and the happy realization that swimsuit season is over for another year.
This holiday is celebrated the day you open a college savings plan for your child. It’s a day of reflection about the passing of time and about the price of knowledge. Usually this day is observed by the wearing of the black, the gnashing of the teeth, and of course the renting of the garments upon realizing you could save 100 percent of the entire household income over the next ten years and still not have nearly enough to put three children through college.
Traditionally celebrated on the day following 529 Day, this pagan ceremony is an appeal to the gods of Scholarship. In hopes that the Gods favor their children and give their households a financial break, mothers build sacrificial altars made from old report cards, outdated preschool paintings with gold stars stuck on them, and graduation-themed party good decorations from the dollar store. Some families go even further by wearing symbolic barrels, rearranging their kids’ bedrooms so the beds face towards Harvard, and flogging their financial advisors with old tax returns. This tradition is thought to date back to the Druids, who beat their children withelk antlers if they screwed up on their SATs.
The Battle of the Working Mothers and The Stay-at-Homes
This ongoing, unsolvable debateonly served to pit mothers against mothers every day of the year.So someone finally came up with the idea to have just ONE day a year where the two sides can have at it. This frees up the other 364 days so everyone can just shut the hell up about it already and get dinner started. Every year on the day after Labor Day, chosen for its obvious symbolism, working moms line up on one side of the local elementary school parking lot, and SAHMs line up on the other side. Their faces painted like so many extras from Braveheart, the mothers run towards each other, screaming an ungodly combination of a rebel yell and a Bollywoodmusical soundtrack. The Workies throw their Blackberries at the SAHMs and pummel them with expensive shoes and symbolic juggling balls. The SAHMs fight back with custom scrapbooks, overcooked homemade brownies and Keds. The referees are mothers who have been on both sides of the parking lot, and roll their eyes a lot at the whole mess.The kids, on the other hand, have no interest in the outcome. They just want another juice box as soon as the smoke clears.
The Chanting of the NO
A very spiritual holiday, celebrating the day a threshold is crossed and new wisdom gained. With the chanting of “NO” the mother gains personal power. Date varies. It is usually observed the first time a mother says NO to a request to volunteer at the preschool or co-chair the neighborhood block party committee. Observation rituals vary and are personal. But sometimes the whole thing backfires and any satisfaction gained is replaced by guilt and exclusion from the next Pampered Chef party invite list. Related holidays celebrating forms of emancipation are Fallen Arches Day (the first time you realize you can buy your kids Payless Shoes and they won’t die), and St. Cheapo’s Day (when you stop buying needlessly expensive baby gear and go with the perfectly serviceable K-Mart umbrella stroller).
This interesting holiday occurs on different days for different moms, but every mom will be able to celebrate it at some point. Invisibility Day happens the first time you realize you are embarrassing your children simply byexisting on the same planet that they do. It also can be celebrated on the first day your preteen ditches you to hang with his friends (after asking you to hold his jacket and for money as well), and then pretends he doesn’t know you if you talk to him. You’ve become invisible, which then begs the question, “What does this mean for me if I am invisible?” The response varies from mother to mother. Some mothers celebrate ID by subscribing to More magazine and “reinventing” themselves. Other moms take up smoking, cussing or other vices because they feel they are freed from having to set a good example, now that they are invisible. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy it! You don’t exist anymore anyway, so what the hell?