It was almost empty in the “dining hell” this morning. Those of us who had dared to enter made a close circle and sat together on this quiet day. I ate my food in silence. We foreign exchange students gloomily smiled at each other, sighed. My attempt to enlighten things by conversation did not go the way I hoped. “Hi, where are you from?” I asked with my most spontaneous voice, even a large fake smile on my face. For a moment the girl looked me into the eyes. “From my mother’s belly!” she cried out.
Even though the ancient Greeks already had an annual festival in March to honor Cybele, a great mother of the gods, and every ancient Roman mother received a gift on her annual Juno-dedication day, I am proud that the modern Mother’s Day celebrated in many different countries has derived from the U.S. I was impressed as well as I walked over an empty campus today. I assumed that everyone absent was spending quality time with mama, and of that I very approve.
When Germany had the lowest rate of birth in Europe in the 1920s, it introduced Mother’s Day as a means to get the women to bear more children. In Indonesia, entire surprise parties are thrown, or cooking contests between daughters are being held. In Sri Lanka, every day is Mothers day. And in the U.S., Mother’s Day generates almost 8 percent of the jewelry industry’s annual revenue.
I couldn’t surprise my mommy this morning with breakfast in bed (“What a surprise, you do this every year”). As a result of this sad fact, I probably spend more time appreciating her love than I have ever done on Mother’s Day. I even dedicated this blog to my sweet mama – but that’s also to make up for the lack of a real gift this year.
Doris ter Horst
Columnist Doris ter Horst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org