Editorial—The Mother of Invention

A quick reminder that Mother’s Day is right around the corner (or you just missed it depending on when you read this).  To that end, this week we’ve got a couple of articles loosely connected to the theme.  Starting with the Fly on the Wall that looks at our learning journey’s start with our very first teacher.

Also, we have an interview with a student and mother as the subject of our Minds We Meet article, read up on why she’s taking her AU courses now and how she’s found her first few.

Our third feature is an installment of [blue rare] that speaks to my cynical self.  While we often have articles right here in The Voice Magazine that try to provide inspirational advice or ways to become your best self, I often find myself wondering just how applicable is that advice to the wealth of differences that make up who humanity is.  Sure, maybe something worked great for you, but does that mean it’ll work well for anybody else who isn’t in your exact situation and headspace?  Still, these articles tend to be popular, so who am I to judge?

But getting back to Mother’s Day, in the past, each year I’ve remembered far too late and then, guilt being what it is, sent an Edible Arrangements fruit basket to my mom, usually spending far too much in the process for what you get (though I do love their pineapple’s dipped in chocolate).  Last year though, mom mentioned that she didn’t feel it was worth it either, and let us know that she’d be just as happy with a phone call or a visit.  Still, the expectations of industry and society have their hooks in, and there’s no way I’d feel comfortable showing up empty handed, even though I’m sure she’d be just fine with that.

But, with prices the way they are, money’s been tight lately, so finding that ‘just right’ Mother’s day gift, a challenge at the best of times, is nearly impossible now.  Fortunately, one of the things about my mother being very staunchly conservative, anti-masking, anti-COVID vaccine, etc. is that it means I’m pretty sure she doesn’t frequent the many small Asian stores in the neighborhood.  Which means she likely doesn’t know about the Asian florist and the insane deals that can be had there.  So, I can grab an expensive looking Mother’s Day gift while not breaking the bank.

But the question remains, should I still feel guilty?  You can say ‘it’s the thought that counts’ all you want, and even if that’s what both you and the other person believes, our society still pushes in with that annoying notion of “yes, but isn’t it better to show your thoughts by spending commensurately?”  After all, if it was only the thought that counted, we wouldn’t see such massive pushes by florists and Hallmark to make sure you’re providing the proper celebration.  We wouldn’t see special Mother’s Day brunches on offer, typically for a significant markup from a normal brunch.  After all, thoughts are personal, private things, what does being able to show copious spending have to do with that?

When you think about it rationally, of course it’s just the thought that counts.  Your mom is going to love you (or not, I don’t know your situation) regardless of what gift you provide, if any.  Sure, nicer gifts will tend to create momentary expressions of joy or gratitude, but, overall, it’s not going to change how they really feel.  Still, our society excels in instilling guilt or envy.  Which means that maybe the real gift we can give for Mother’s Day, is acceptance, first of ourselves, and then of what feelings your loved ones have for you.  Trust them to accept you the way you do them.  Let that guide your consumerism, and who knows where we all might end up.  Enjoy the read!