As a child, I thought the concept behind Mother's Day and Father's Day was unfair. Parents were given days in their own name, so why didn't children receive the same privilege?
"We should have Daughter's Day," I declared one afternoon.
"Every day is Daughter's Day," my dad said. "Son's Day, too. Never forget that."
Two decades later, I understand and wish I could apologize for my toddler ignorance. Everyday is all about us, and that's why we don't need a celebratory day in our name. We should get to that point with our parents, who deserve more than just 24 hours a year of our full appreciation.
Mother's Day, which falls on May 12, was started by Anna Jarvis in 1905 following the passing of her mother on the second Sunday of May. The elder Jarvis reportedly educated other women about health and sanitation, so Anna made the holiday national in honor of her late parent.
Anna's sentiment was in the right place, but once the rest of the country latched onto the holiday, things started getting a little weird, and Anna was very vocal about their interpretation of Mother's Day. Florists began hiking up carnation prices, prompting Anna to boycott against flower vendors. The American War Mothers held their own Mother's Day event in the 1930s and placed the apostrophe on the wrong side of the "s," causing a livid Anna to disrupt the gathering and subsequently be charged with disorderly conduct. Mother's Day, she said, should not be plural, as it's supposed to honor each individual mom and family rather than lump them all in one category.
Anna wasn't pleased with the commercialization of Mother's Day, specifically the "teddy bears, bouquets, [and] heart-shaped assorted confections" that spawned from it. As for greeting cards? She didn't love the idea of buying a card with a message already enclosed. Writing a sincere letter to one's mother is a lot different than going for a pretty, interactive singing card that does all the work for you.
If she were around today, she probably wouldn't have anything nice to say about social media's takeover of parent days. As much as I love seeing family photos and touching Facebook status updates on Mother's and Father's Day, they can be a bit overwhelming.
The other downside is that Mother's/Father's Day alienates people who either only have one parent or none at all. What about those with stepmoms and stepdads? Where do you draw the line, and who does the holiday extend to? This is where it all becomes confusing. Some feel obligated to send cards to grandparents, and those without parents may even be reprimanded for not honoring the "next best" thing in one's life.
People without parents may also be forced into thinking they need to feel left out on that day, and that's if they're not already sad about it. I can't celebrate Father's Day, but I don't think much of it ... until someone calls on Father's Day and asks if I'm OK.
"Yeah, why wouldn't I be?" or some variation of that, slips from my mouth.
"Because it's Father's Day."
"Well, I was fine until you brought that up," I think to myself. Thanks for essentially expecting me to plan to be miserable all day.
There are many reasons Father's/Mother's Day should go, but as earlier stated, most of all we need to show our parents we care more than just one day a year. If you're close with both or one of your parents, do something nice a couple times a year. Say "I love you" everyday. Surprise them with a trip. Take them out to lunch once a month. You can do plenty of little things on a regular basis for your family, and that counts a lot more than shipping overpriced roses from Flowers.com their way every May.
What do you think of parents days? Let me know on Twitter: @LauraDonovanUA