Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: My dear hubby has a thing about not celebrating what he calls "Hallmark
Holidays" which include Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. (However, he has no strenuous objection if someone does something nice for him on Father's Day...)

Fortunately my daughter doesn't share his view. My daughter and I belong to the "any excuse to celebrate" club, as did my mom. The three of us always did something fun or special, even if the last few years for my mom that meant Mother's Day Tea at the nursing home.

This will be our first year without her, but my daughter and I have plans to have a late Sunday lunch/early supper (I'll be flying in from California) at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We are  hoping for good patio weather, and will have guacamole, and shrimp brochette, and Mambo Limos, which are topnotch frozen margaritas with a swirl of Chambord. Husbands are included, even mine, who gets to be designated driver, his reward for being testy.

But I say why not take every opportunity to celebrate those we love--mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, special aunts and uncles and grandparents and friends?

REDS, do you celebrate "Hallmark Holidays?"
HALLIE EPHRON: Mother's Day I get flowers from my sweet husband (tulips, please...) and calls from my kids. On Father's Day I cook something special for Jerry (pate, or lobster bisque, or gateau St. Honore...) and HE gets calls from the kids.  

If Hallmark depended on us it would go out of business. My husband draws cards. I get one for Christmas, New Year, Valentine's Day, Groundhog Day, and my birthday. And I've kept every single one he's ever made me. Here's one he did for me on an anniversary... just to give you a taste.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I am terrible about Hallmark Holidays. I forget family members' birthdays, I don't celebrate my own anniversary, and I had to look up right now to see that Mother's Day, is, in fact, May 11 (I'm writing this several days ahead, and a good thing, too! I can still send my mom something!) Seriously, internet ordering and overnight shipping are the only things that save me from being a total pariah. I just seem to be missing the part of my brain that says "This date! Be happy now!" Maybe I've got holidaylexia? I also don't decorate for Halloween, Easter or Independence Day.

That being said, I usually send my mother flowers or a flowering plant in Mother's Day, since her condo rules prevent her from doing much of the gardening she used to enjoy. In my household, Ross browbeats the kids into creating handmade cards, which I confess I do cherish. Some flowers from our garden, which is always beautiful this time of year, he makes lunch after church, and we call it good.

RHYS BOWEN: My husband didn't believe in Mother's Day, since it wasn't celebrated in England. He thought it was one of those commercial holidays. When my favorite aunt was still alive she would send the children money for me to celebrate English Mothering Sunday in March. I would be lured out of the house while the kids prepared an excellent tea. It was a lot of fun. Since my kids are now grown they have been very sweet about remembering Mother's Day. In fact Dominic is coming over to cook me a special dinner on Sunday.

And my kids always made handmade cards for everything, Julia. I also have a box of them which I treasure. This is great as John is hopeless about holidays. The day before our anniversary he'll say "Oh, I suppose you want a card?"  How I wished for that fantasy husband who would show up with arms full of roses, strew the bed with rose petals, light candles, play romantic music, whisk me off to Hawaii.... does he exist?

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: We do NOT celebrate the holidays in our house with Hallmark cards, ever. Having the kiddo around certainly makes holidays more fun, so my husband and I have split the difference — he does all the crafts, etc. and I make the food. Divide and conquer! But no Hallmark cards or fancy presents, no. No crazy outlays of money. And I'm perfectly happy with that.

Miss Edna and I are absolutely delighted with our homemade cards on Mother's Day as well as a brunch (where we don't have to do anything but sit and look pretty — the guys will clean and cook). Lemon cake has become a tradition — let's see if the guys whip one up this year.

I don't even buy cards (for any holiday) anymore — do you know the mark-up on a greeting card is 400% Save a tree! Use an e-card! (I like

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I've said to Jonathan for years--I absolve you of any responsibility for Hallmark holidays. It seems so artificial -- if the commercial universe has to bop you over the head to remind you to tell someone you love them, that's too bad.

And my mother--in this photo, we are at my fifth (or so, what do you think?) birthday (NOT a hallmark holiday, I might add)--used to say: Every day is Mother's Day." I can still hear her saying it!

(And how did you like the punctuation in that sentence?)

DEBS: Oh, my gosh, Hank, that is the most adorable picture! And your mom was gorgeous--we can tell where you get your looks!

I totally agree with your mom, every day is Mother's Day, but I'm still happy for an excuse for a little special time with my lovely daughter. Every year I feel more and more blessed to have been cherished by my mother and my grandmother, and I hope I've given the same gift to my daughter.

Readers, we wish you the best today, however you may spend it.


  1. We're not too good on the Hallmark part of these sorts of holidays but I did get a really cute "Nana" card from my Virginia grandchildren. And while we have no particular plans for the day, I can count on talking to the girls, we'll have something special for dinner, and it will all be good. I hope everyone enjoys the day . . . .

  2. Marian Anderson was a favorite of my mom's. I can tell this recording is like the one on which I first heard her sing this, on a 78 RPM (you can hear the crackling in the background) I miss my mom.

  3. Wow, thanks to Susan for the e-card site link--you saved my bacon with my step-mother. Er, and maybe my mother-in-law....

    Yes, I have THREE mothers. You'd think that means I pay attention to it, but no. Fortunately, my mother-in-law doesn't care much about timely wishes, my step-mother has gone to "card-only" policy (I'm hoping e-cards work), and my mother was just here with me this weekend for a literary event, which was her gift. So I think I'm covered.

    But overall, in my family(ies) it's always been more about the togetherness or a conversation and a card, not other gifts.

    Happy Mother's day to all moms out there!

  4. No matter how many of you don't buy Hallmark cards, they'll stay in business, if only because of MY mother. I've been helping her organize stuff to sell, in preparation for moving out of her big house into two rooms in my brother's new home. I asked her what was in a huge box--cards, hundreds of them. She sends birthday and anniversary cards to everyone in our enormous, extended Catholic family. Plus, she sends get well cards, and cards for every holiday--faux and otherwise--under the sun. I bet she has several thousand dollars worth of unsent ones, though.

    Happy Mother's Day, dear JRW friends, whether you are moms of human or fur children. Or moms of writing projects, which totally count.

  5. My husband does do Hallmark cards - but the getting of the card is part of the ritual. We go together to the mall (which includes a stop at the food court). He browses the cards while I browse the rest of the store. The same woman usually checks us out and will put his cards in a separate bag and visit with us a bit and then I pay - we buy a card for our daughter whose birthday is at the end of May too.
    A card is all I get (and all I want) because my birthday is later in the week.

  6. My husband and I live in different cities, even states, due to his job. It works fine for us, and he is home every 4 to 6 weeks, usually. Since he has been away, he has turned into the super observer of holidays with cards. He never misses an occasion and seems to need to send two cards, one funny, one sweet. He even sends his mother the appropriate cards. As I used to have to remind him about everything coming up, this turn of events is most interesting. I think he feels guilty because he's not here for so many occasions, but I've tried to tell him not to be. Anyway, he does a wonderful job of remembering us all. I visit his mother and take her flowers, as she is a widow, and I want her to feel special. Calls from the kids are lovely to look forward to for me, although neither of them seems to have picked up on my tendency to "celebrate," like you, Debs.

    My own mother has been gone for almost twenty years now, and I miss telling her Happy Mother's Day. Our family usually celebrated such days and birthdays with a family dinner and gifts. I rather miss that, too. However, I married into a family that doesn't make a big deal out of special days, and I've adjusted pretty well, although I still celebrate in my own ways and am trying to indoctrinate my granddaughters with the joy of celebration. Hehehe!

    Hallie, your husband's cards are truly a treasure. The one pictured is fantastic. Debs and Hank, what beautiful mothers you had, and it's most evident that their beauty was passed on to you.

  7. This Mother's Day is special to me for a number of reasons. Last spring my 29 year old daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. Thankfully, she is totally cancer free now! In September at my annual mammogram, I was also diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy in November. I've had some complications with scar tissue and have just undergone my third surgery, one more to go. But, I am also cancer free and am able to celebrate Mother's Day with all three of my beautiful daughters.

    One of the things that has made this past year somewhat more bearable is reading wonderful books by female authors. You ladies at Reds, especially Rhys, Debs and Susan have helped me so much during these difficult months. I was blessed to be able to meet Rhys at the Tattered Cover in Denver during her latest book tour and, Rhys, you were all I expected and hoped you would be. Thanks again for all the wonderful characters and stories. You ladies are all wonderful women, writers, moms, daughters, etc. Keep it up!

  8. My husband and I are helping make up for some of you slackers! We tend to give each other 5 cards for birthdays, Valentine's, and our anniversary. Mother's and Father's Days, maybe only one. The fun part is when we each give the other a matching card!
    My husband says we shouldn't give gifts on Valentine's Day and such, but he reserves the right to break that rule...and almost always does!
    If I could loan him out, he'd be a great resource for men who are challenged about gift giving. He is really good. He's bought, without prompting, most of my jewelry and he loves to shop!

  9. Beverly,

    This really must be a special Mother's Day for your family! There's nothing like the cold reality of cancer to make you be aware of and appreciate your life's blessings. Happy Mother's Day to you and to all your daughters, and may you continue for many more celebrations cancer-free!

  10. It's fine to be cavalier about holidays and celebrations. I have missed a few. Last Christmas went by, and I was too depressed to send cards. I wish I had, because each card I received, Hallmark or otherwise, made me feel a little better.

    Holidays are an opportunity to say and do. It isn't always easy to say I love you or make a cake when there doesn't seem to be a reason. For those of you who don't need a special reason to give a hug. Or a gift. Or make a cake. A special dinner. A night out. That's okay. But sometimes it's the only chance you may have to entertain and express special care for someone. The uncle who is easy to forget. A neighbor. The cousin no one seems to like. The person who needs to heal their place in the family.

    A holiday is an opportunity. Not all families or friends make space for showing their love. It's a time to include people when you might not otherwise.


  11. Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

    I join Debs in the "any reason to have a celebration is fine with me!"

    Celebrations include hats, balloons, flowers and ice cream.

    And besides being Mother's Day today, it is also our 28th wedding anniversary, so we threw in a Willie Nelson/Alison Krauss concert to celebrate.

  12. Happy Anniversary, Kaye & Don! I like the way you roll, with the Willie and Allison concert.

  13. Happy Mothers Day, everyone... and to Kaye a very Happy Anniversary to you—AND am I correct that you are wearing those great boots to the Willy/Alison concert! I bet you are. I'm once entered a contest hoping to win those boots. They were first prize... You have no idea how impressed I am that you have a pair!


  14. Mother's day is always special for me. I have 8 children: 3 birth, 5 step. I am Mom to all and always look forward to the phone calls and cards. These "Hallmark holidays" are precious to many of us. I miss my own Mom and a very special Mom-in-law.