I do not actually like this holiday at all, and maybe I am approaching it all wrong but I think it is a mean holiday.
It is mean because of people like me who do not have moms anymore. I remember the last Mother's Day card I gave my mom -- I was 23 years old and she was in the hospital getting a terminal breast cancer diagnosis at age 45 for her Mother's Day gift -- my card said in blue letters: To hell with Freud -- I love my mother".
Mother's Day is mean because of people like my student who lost a pregnancy recently -- I am sure she appreciates the reminder that she is no longer going to be a mother this year.
It is a mean holiday because of people whose children are dead. I am thinking of one today whose daughter actually died of childhood cancer on Mother's Day. I am thinking that mom is not appreciating anything that says Happy Mother's Day.
Mother's Day is mean to women who struggle with infertility -- that silent and constant loss and the ever present but unacknowledged grief that comes from yearning for something that seems so easy for everyone else.
It is mean for people who never found themselves -- for whatever reasons -- in a place to have children and who so wish life would have dealt them a different hand -- one that involved children.
Mother's Day is mean to stepmothers, who might get an obligatory Happy Mother's Day from step-children who otherwise have not recognized her for some time; the dutiful greeting only makes the silence of the other days so much louder.
Some have lost children to causes other than death, and for them this is also a mean holiday as we mourn our missing children, who will always have a place in our broken hearts.
So yes -- Happy Mother's Day indeed -- but likely we will say that to someone who doesn't feel happy at all, and only increase their sorrow as they recognize that they are not understood and their sadness and loss is not acknowledged. So for those many, here is my Mother's Day greeting: I am sorry.