Mother's Day: A Stupid, Manipulative Holiday

I think we’re all in agreement (aren’t we?) that Mother’s Day as it is currently practiced is by far the most commercial, needlessly costly, guilt-induding holiday of all time. For years, I’ve insisted it was begun by a consortium of greedy florists and greeting card manufacturers, and I’ve told my children. . . .please. . . .never to observe it.

Here’s the truth, sappy as it sounds: Being a mother is a privilege every day. Even when it sucks. Even when you’re punishing someone or cleaning puke out of the carpet or — and believe me, I know whereof I speak — picking up your little darling one after he or she has been caught doing something off limits by the local police. Doesn’t matter. Being a mother is better than anything, and we don’t need some utterly irrelevant day in May for children everywhere to stop and salute, sending flowers that cost 40 percent more than they would any other time of year and sitting through tedious, mediocre brunches where everyone eats too much.

How, I ask you, does that celebrate the miracle of motherhood?

But it turns out I was wrong about one thing (ONLY one, mind you): Mother’s Day was not a product of Hallmark. Its roots go back to ancient Greece where people paid tribute to Rhea, the Mother of the
Gods, each spring. Then in 1872, some weirdo named Julia Ward Howe — who also wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, which explains a lot — suggested the idea of an actual, official Mother’s Day. Something tells me if Howe were alive today, she’d be a rabid supporter of George W. Just a hunch. . . .

Still, even though the history goes way back and has to do with something cool like a Greek goddess, I’m still against any kind of celebration. Particularly the ones that involve everyone getting dressed up in pastel costumes and taking photographs in which babies are squeezed until they smile, then sitting down to some putrid multi-generational meal.

That said, if you MUST go out for Mother’s Day — and according to the restaurateurs I’m talking to who say this non-holiday is routinely their single biggest day of the year, many of you cannot quell the urge — then try Morton’s. At least they’re doing something different. Something cool. Something outrageously expensive, but not in a scam-like way.

They’re serving a prix fixe menu, priced at $59 per person, that includes a salad, a choice of entree (beef, salmon, shrimp, or chicken), a side dish, and a gooey dessert. Plus — and this is the beauty part — you can get Mom a champagne cocktail with a hibiscus flower in the bottom of the glass that ACTUALLY BLOOMS (their emphasis, not mine) as the champagne is poured over it. If you don’t believe me, just see above. And this rare and delicate drink can be had for only $16.

Now, forget everything I said before. This is your mommy. C’mon. Doesn’t she deserve a wet flower and a good hunk of meat?