Confessions of a Mother’s Day Card Sap

Yes, it’s true: I am one of those ridiculously over-emotional types who cry while reading greeting cards. I don’t know who comes up with your schmaltz, Mr. Hallmark, but it gets me every time. It doesn’t matter what the melodramatic rambling is about — birth, graduation, wedding, death — because any cause for celebration or sympathy will start the tears flowing.

The worst by far are the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards.

I don’t remember being nearly so affected by them before I had children. (Then again, I sometimes have difficulty recalling anything before I had children.)  But once I did have kids, shopping for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards for my parents became a big deal — one that absolutely required Kleenex.

This year, as usual, I was crying before I finished the first card. Honestly, it had me at “Happy Mother’s Day.” But then it hit me: I didn’t have anyone to buy a card for. My husband had already bought one for his mother (what a thoughtful son she raised!), and my moms are both gone.

The short story: My birth mother died when I was two and a half, and my paternal aunt, who raised me, passed away in December. Obviously, I never purchased a card for my mother, but I always gave one to my aunt. Whether it was a card made with construction paper and crayons as a child or a dozen roses sent as an adult, she was someone I wanted to celebrate.

This year I’ll be celebrating her a little — actually a lot — differently. My husband and kids are taking me to a gospel brunch at The House of Blues in Chicago. It will be a first for all of us, and my children, frankly, seemed a little dumbfounded when we told them about it. But there are few things I can think of that are more uplifting than a gospel choir.

I’m looking forward to a new experience with my kids this Mother’s Day. And while I didn’t have any cards to shed tears over in the checkout line, I can guarantee the ones my children give me will get the waterworks started. It’s OK, though. They’re worth every tear.