Mother’s Day is over and it reminded me of the days when I owned a gift shop. Mother’s Day weekend was always a more than usual number of men, usually late in the day on Saturday, rushing in to get a card for their mother or wife. It was the same on Valentine’s Day. They grabbed a card and were out of there, not taking a lot of time other than to make sure it said something. At least they were making an effort to do something on a holiday that was obviously forced on them by the gift industry, the flower industry, society.

Some people are just better at acknowledging how they feel than others. Some don’t like being told to do something just because it’s a declared holiday. Some don’t like to be told to do anything. Some just don’t know how to do it. It’s nice to have specified days to remember our mothers, fathers, veterans, whoever. It seems like it got out of hand when we started having days for secretaries, grandparents, teachers, bosses, and anybody else the card companies could think to honor.

Starting when I was a little girl, I always – well, always may be a bit strong – but almost always as I remember, gave or sent my grandparents and parents cards and presents on the holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, their birthdays, Christmas. It made me feel good to do it, to let them know I loved them.

Today, there are even more, even more convenient, ways to keep in touch…text, Facebook, Twitter, old-fashioned email, and there are still phones. In fact, now we have phones with us all the time, some with FaceTime. And there’s Skype. It would be nice to think that people were using them to communicate more often, with more love, from the heart. That’s what the ads show, after all. And there are always handmade cards and gifts that fill the bill. Here’s one my son made for me…I wish I’d dated it, but it looks like he was about 10 or so.

Scan 19

Anyway, my point is that people need to tell the people they love how they feel while they can. If it takes a manufactured day to remind them, then that’s ok. If they could do it all the time, it’s even better. Don’t assume that your actions, although also important, speak louder than words. Everybody needs the words. Everybody. Nobody likes to feel taken for granted. Those manufactured holidays are a double-edged sword. They are a good reminder to acknowledge how you feel. For those who don’t receive anything on those days, it’s another kind of reminder and a different kind of loneliness and isolation. Some people are surrounded by loved ones who take it lightly. Some have nobody to remember them. It can be the happiest of days or the saddest or somewhere in-between (I know they love me, but it hurts that they forgot this day, even though I know it’s just a Hallmark Holiday). You know what I mean.

I’ve been lucky all my life. I have people who remember me on the days they are assigned to do so and I have people who tell me all the time. My husband and son were the best at bringing me surprises for no particular reason on top of the other holidays. They both started as little boys, doing sweet things for their mothers. Girls seem to be a little better at it…maybe it’s that shopping thing or that showing your emotions thing. Are the exceptions to those gender expectations born or taught by their parents? Hmmmm…

In the best of worlds, we tell each other how we feel in so many ways. We tell them out loud, we whisper it to them, we tell them with printed words, we acknowledge them to others. However you do it, just don’t forget how important it is to everyone…everyone. Thank them, tell them you love them, hug them. While you still have the time. Because none of us ever knows how much time we have.