30 May 2010

Happy Mothers' Day (updated 21 June 2010)

If you're reading this in America, you might be thinking, "Dude, that was three weeks ago."

True, and I eventually did call my mom...a day or two late.

In France Mother's Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of May. Unless, of course, the last Sunday happens to be Pentecost Sunday. Then it's pushed to the first Sunday of June.

You know, when you use the Internet to search for things like 'the origin of Mother's Day in France', you can find volumes of information, almost all of which can be contradictory. One source attributes it to Napoleon. Another to ancient Greece. Another went even farther back in antiquity to the Egyptians. But two relatively modern dates came up several times: 1928, when Mother's Day became officialized, and 1950 when it was signed into law.

But enough with the history; let's get to the interesting stuff.

If you don't know what to get your mother - or mother of your children - for this special day, the folks over at french.news.cn have got some ideas for you.  They've come up with what they say are the top 10 gifts for moms this year.  Have a look:

10. A trip
9.  Bonbons
8.  Perfume
7.  Exotic coffee
6. Jewelery
5. Wine
4. A Yoga DVD
3. Candles
2. A TV series on DVD
1. A digital camera

Just once I'd love to see a list of gift ideas that goes someting like this:

- Rocket ride into sub-orbital space with Richard Branson (and no, I'm not talking about gifts for the mothers in-law out there)
- A free tryout to the Dallas Cowboy cheerleading squad
- Front-row seats at the Staples Center for game 1 of the NBA finals on Friday, June 4th between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.

But that would only reinforce the irrelevance of top-10 lists, because everyone wants something different.

(There's a question that begs to be asked here - When you give gifts, do you give what the receiver wants, or what you yourself would want? We'll get to that one in another post.)

Still, flowers are always a safe bet, and that didn't make the list. Neither did 'send mom to the massage parlour' or 'take mom out to lunch'.

Speaking of which, it's only 8am here now, and I'm sure every sous-chef in the city is slicing and chopping and mincing and mixing everything from apples to lemon zest for the army of moms that will be treated to a nice meal today, cooked by someone else for a change.

Here's a quote my wife found this morning, something she had written down on a piece of scrap paper a year or so ago.

We don't know the source, but I felt it was appropriate to share on this day. If you recognize where it comes from, please let me know and I'll add it in an update. (The quote comes from Tobias' Shoud on 3 January 2010. A big thanks to Jean T. for recognizing the source and letting me know!)

"When a mother bird wakes in the morning, even before the sun comes out, she has such anticipation and joy for the day. She doesn't even wait for the sun to come up. She wakes up and starts singing right away. She starts singing the joys of the day - singing, looking at her nest with her young ones, singing about enjoying life with them. 

She doesn't worry about all the things that need to be done that day. She spreads her wings and even before the young ones have woken up, she flies out. She gets into a stream of consciousness and the wind that brings her to the food.

And it is just there. And there are days when it's not just there and she still keeps singing because for her, for this mother bird to just experience life to open her wings and soar upon the earth, is joy enough, even if it should go away in the next moment.

Such is the life of a bird. No fear. The bird works with its intuition and its bird consciousness and the earth consciousness to supply it with all its needs".

Blessings to all mothers, everywhere.

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