Happy Mothers’ Day (apostrophe location intentional)

My blog plan for today was to teach y’all about what I considered a common grammatical error: Mothers’ Day v. Mother’s Day.  I am firmly in the camp that the former has its apostrophe in the proper place.  I got myself all revved up to educate the masses and was collecting information to prove exactly how right I am and how wrong said masses are.  Unfortunately, it turns out that *I* am who one who is incorrect.  I don’t like that; I don’t like it one bit.  In addition to my general distaste at being “incorrect,” I think the convention is wrong – not just grammatically, but conceptually. 

Apparently when Anna Jarvis founded Mothers’/Mother’s Day her intention was for “each family to honor their own mother.”  I mean, that’s all well and good, but let’s step away from that isolated utopia and her early 1900s plans.  It’s a limiting and exclusive definition, particularly to a demographic (motherless folks) who often already feels excluded.  I was fortunate to have a great mom and it really blows that she is no longer physically here.  However, I am also fortunate in that there are other strong women in my life, to whom I can turn and who encourage me to grow and become a better person.  These women aren’t my mom, but they fill aspects of that role and some of the void.  Most are mothers, just not mine.  I think it’s bogus to suggest that I should neither honor nor thank them today.  I am not trying to devalue the horrors of childbirth; I am trying to value the love, kindness, and compassion inherent in mothering – particularly towards a child of choice.

The concept of ‘child of choice’ brings me to another demographic that Anna Jarvis’s apostrophe placement marginalizes.  What about people with a series of mothers?  Birth mother, adoptive mother, foster mother, stepmother, grandmother, mother-in-law…  I would want to honor each who touched me and helped (and continues to help) guide me as a mother to be not just the person who I am, but also the person whom I want to be.  As mothers have gone back to work, divorced, and had children alone; society has evolved in many ways to support their circumstances.  I don’t mean to diminish a mother who matches the traditional definition; mine was glorious and should be up for sainthood shortly.  My purpose here is to be more inclusive.  Speaking of inclusion, what about families with two mommies?  Both moms are valid and both share the struggles and triumphs of motherhood.  They both deserved to be honored today.

My initial outrage grew when I went on to discover that the punctuation placement is not merely some sort of grandmothered-in tradition.  Nope.  Turns out that it’s repeated annually by presidential proclamation, although many presidents have acknowledged different kinds of mothers and Obama (finally) gave the first nod to two-mom families this year.  Still, the punctuation in the written version remains constant and that limitation continues to be extended to the calendar and Hallmark cards.  (Although admittedly Hallmark offers a wide variety of alterna-cards; I sent a Recycled Greetings version, but ceteris paribus on the company detail.)  I am beyond irked that something as wonderful as mothers and as right as honoring them is defiled by an apostrophe.  I’m going to continue to write it as I have been: incorrect, but RIGHT.  I think I’m going to write my senator regarding this one.  My own mother wrote lots of letters.

Here is the card that I sent to the primary woman who helps fill the role and void of the absence of my mother:

Front: A friend is someone who truly makes a difference in your life.

Inside: Thank you for making a difference in mine. Having you in my life continues to make me a better person.  Happy Mother’s Day to my dear and wonderful friend. 

As evidenced by the card, the person to whom I sent this is not my mother, nor will she ever be.  However, she is a mother and cares for me as one would – for which she deserves to be honored and recognized for that. 



1 Response to “Happy Mothers’ Day (apostrophe location intentional)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Present Pontifications

May 2010
« Apr   Jun »

Past Pontifications

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2 other followers


%d bloggers like this: