I only saw two people this morning—one man, one woman—wearing white roses. When I was growing up, every Mother’s Day one either wore a white rose, if one’s mother were dead, or a red rose, if she was still alive. I don’t know when the custom died out, but I always liked it, although wearing a rose the color of blood for a live mother seems a bit macabre.
My daughter asked what I wanted to do about MD. I told her absolutely nothing. My mother always said, “Every day is Mother’s Day.” That’s because my father and I always turned it into some kind of joke. We once gave her a cake with an icing cigar on the top.
Mother’s Day is another of those “For Marketing Only” days like George Washington’s birthday or Valentine’s Day. I am always delighted with chocolate—preferably Dinstuhl’s chocolate strawberries, which are better than anyone else’s—but since the day I discovered I could actually buy my own chocolate rather than wait for someone else to give it to me, my chocoholism has caused me endless fights with myself. Then I also discovered that women should buy their own perfume, never what someone else gives, even if it’s the most expensive perfume going. That was a big epiphany. Actually, that’s why I seldom wear the stuff. I buy it, then forget to put it on, and it goes bad after a while. I never know how much is enough, but too much is an abomination.
Anyway, in my family every day was Mother’s Day. My mother was a leading actress at the local Little Theatre. She wasn’t a great comedienne, but boy, was she a good dramatic actress. By the time I was twelve I was working backstage, designing and building costumes for shows that she was in, and doing everything from painting flats to finding props. Since my father, the engineer, worked backstage as well, I was always under parental supervision—not that I ever caught them at it.
Eventually, I acted. Badly, in most cases. Sara Bernhardt I am not. I always worried about holding my stomach in on stage. I hated the idea of letting it all hang out. Our summer group—mostly college kids—put on stuff we thought our adults would think terribly avant garde. One summer we did Oscar Wilde’s Salome. Guess who played Salome complete dance of the seven veils? When I dropped that last veil I heard my mother gasp all the way from the back of the audience. The dance got good reviews. The acting did not. Hardly surprising since none of us had any idea what the play is actually about. Neither of my parents ever mentioned the show. Thank heaven.
For those of you who have gone backstage to congratulate your friends, here are a couple of sure fire non-compliments. My favorite is “Darling I could cry!” Then there is “Good God, that was a play.” Bet your friends will never notice.
Anyway, I am in the white rose category and have been for some years. I hate it. I’d give anything to watch one of my mother’s hissy fits again, although they drove me nuts at the time. So, for those of you still wearing red roses, give your mother a call, take her to lunch or the movies, and realize that although she drives you crazy, it’s preferable to the alternative. cmc