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Mother’s Day and the Hallmark Conspiracy

Written by Marlin Detweiler

There’s something that really bugs me about buying cards for made up holidays like Mother’s Day. Not that having a Mother’s Day every second Sunday in May should be abolished. It just bothers me that Hallmark Cards would invent such a thing for the sheer commercial value of it. At least that’s what the rumor is—even if there isn’t any truth to it.


For the last eight years Laurie and I have spent Mother’s Day recuperating from the increasingly exhausting rigors of manning our booth at the Harrisburg Homeschool Fair (CHAP). That doesn’t leave much in the tank for an exciting celebration of motherhood—honoring our mothers who are both living and planning something with my boys to celebrate the amazing mother with which they have been blessed. Unfortunately, this year is no different. The fair ends Saturday, May 13th at 5:00 PM—just a few hours before the Sunday we’ve come to know as Mother’s Day. What to do? What to do?


Maybe we can really surprise here this year. Serve her breakfast in bed. Worship together as a family with all children present. Have the boys make lunch with me cleaning up—that would really surprise her. Then maybe take her to the beach or to Longwood Gardens, a fabulous display of God’s beauty outside Philadelphia. She might enjoy getting together with friends, having her back rubbed, watching a movie or going for a walk. A long afternoon nap would certainly be welcomed. This is starting to sound too simple. As I sit here pondering what makes her happy I find it really isn’t that complex—she just likes to be appreciated. Maybe a Hallmark Card isn’t so bad after all.


Most of us spend precious little time planning a thoughtful expression of appreciation for our spouses, children, extended family members or, for those of you teachers, your students. Admittedly, women are generally much better than men but the fact remains we all need to stop and plan expressions of appreciation. They just don’t seem to happen without planning.


As a mother and reader of this piece you are probably of a small minority who has taken both the godly and rigorous education of the students in your care quite seriously. Teaching is exhausting; add keeping up with everything around the house including laundry, cooking and cleaning to the mix and you probably live feeling like we feel Saturday night before Mother’s Day. Take a deep breath and realize the tremendous privilege we’ve been given to understand the tremendous blessing and benefit accompanying giving our kids such an education.


Work, exhaustion, rest, more work, more exhaustion, rest again; such is our lot in life. And it’s not entirely from the fall. Work was ordained before the fateful bites were taken. Work is good and we should learn to embrace the never-ending pattern. Those of you with lots of young children might fell particularly trapped in this cycle. I remember it well. But now as I look at the coming day of our kids being grown and gone the fact of parenting being a lot of work doesn’t seem so bad.


Mother’s day is an excellent time to celebrate the virtues of those who’s lives are typified by the later part of Proverbs 31. So, don’t miss the opportunity and, if you are the wife reading this, do me a favor, give the article to your husband and blame for suggesting it. He might be as thick as I am and need such a blow to be motivated to do the right thing here.