For the past week or so, The Dearly Beloved has been asking me, "When is Mother's Day, anyway?" I keep telling him that "ain li musag" -- I have no idea. My calendar has been an Israeli one for the last three years; and it doesn't list Mother's Day.
It is not a holiday I ever cared for.
My sons -- G-d love 'em -- are seriously Mother's Day challenged. They don't fight much, baruch Hashem. In fact, I would say that they are each others' best friends. But on Mother's Day, bitter, acrimonious fights are liable to break out. They are moderately obedient children ("obedient" and "Israeli" being somewhat antithetical). However, on Mother's Day, they can become nearly criminal.
Oh, don't think I haven't received all of those "love letters" their teachers made them bring home, with the lovely Crayola flower outlined in teacher's-aide-applied glitter. But I finally had to tell them I would leave home the next time I received a letter that began with "Dear Ema I'm sorry for all the bad things I done to you."
After my dear Mama left this world, I decided to give my kids a well-deserved break. We suspended our observance of the holiday entirely. Their father became aware of a certain justice in the world. After all, Father's Day falls in June, usually after elementary schools have subsided from filling their young charges' time with meaningful arts and crafts. Dads got a raw deal for years, as there are many interesting things to do during the summer besides making a card for Father. Dads, being less likely to start blubbering as you hand them your tender art work, aren't as much fun, anyway. Useful for having a catch, but not as fun for the emotional manipulation game. ("Hey, Ema, will you read Love You Forever to me and my friends? [Soto voce:] Hey, guys, watch this. She can't get all the way to the end without bawling her eyes out. It's a riot!")
(There's a stack of these for sale at M. Pomeranz Bookseller in Yerushalayim, for the locals.)
Back to my Mama, a"h. She loved Mother's Day. She loved the attention and the presents and the flowers and the burned breakfast in bed. I see by remarks on the internet that the day must be getting close. So for Mama, and for other mamas who might be more like her than her daughter, I offer some pretty things that would have made her smile.