It’s Mother’s Day—you know, the one day a year you’re supposed to acknowledge what she does for you the other 364 days. Even if you don’t buy into the hype of the occasion, it’s not a bad idea to somehow let the mom-type person in your life know they are loved and appreciated.
Cue that uniquely North American obsession: card-giving. Trust me, it’s an obsession that just doesn’t exist with the same fervour elsewhere. Chances are, you have recently found yourself scratching your head in the endless card aisle, pouring over a million options, none of which really fits. Not even close. #1 Mother. World’s Best Mom. What if none of these cloying slogans even begins to describe the actual relationship you have with your own mother-type person?
The odds are, they won’t. So few cards out there adequately account for the many configurations and permutations of today’s family. What rock have you been hiding under, Hallmark et al? Where are all the “sweet stepmom” cards? It seems to me a massive demographic has been conspicuously been left out of the card aisle. It’s a glaring absence, given how many Canadian families are blended. There are other notable absences, too. Like the “fabulous foster mom” cards and the “great guardian” cards? I realize these aren’t catchy titles. I’m not that kind of writer. But isn’t it high time cards reflect the sentiments of the consumers who go to the trouble (and substantial expense) of purchasing them? After all, even the most conventional relationships are complicated and don’t always warrant gushing verses.
Every Father’s Day growing up I struggled to find a card for my stepdad that didn’t make my skin crawl. Long story short: we didn’t get along. Still, I wasn’t so shitty that I wasn’t going to at least get the guy a card. (Such was my card-giving indoctrination…) Short of scratching out the “terrific dad” slogan and replacing it with “kind of alright sometimes stepdad,” there were few options available to me. Usually I opted for funny. Funny saved me more times than I can count. Other times I settled for the most neutral verse I could find, or better still, a blank card. How refreshing it would have been to stumble across the odd card that reflected our relationship, instead of pointedly reminding me that I wasn’t “daddy’s special little girl.”
The digital age isn’t likely to break the billion-dollar card industry anytime soon. So, manufacturers, if you’re listening, please quit giving people the fantasy they want and give them the reality they need.
Meantime, crack out the paper and magic markers, and write your own damn verse. Trust me, you don’t want any of mine.