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Mother’s Day

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The courtship was brutal and violent.

Potential suitors attacked each other, their fight for dominance rooted in a plea for ultimate respect. Someone won, although I can’t be sure who.

Hard to tell ducks apart.

The consequences emerged in the pond this morning, as 8 tiny ducklings followed their mother into each tiny bay of reeds. Within a couple of minutes, the young ones started imitating her head bobs in the shallows.

Today is Mother’s Day, and this story could end here. Appreciation for maternal figures, overdue expressions of love, once-a-year acknowledgements. Thanks, Mom. #share, #brunch, #flowers.

But the reality is that not all of these ducklings will survive. A new brood graces this pond every spring, and within a couple of weeks, the group is cut in half.

Sad? Yes. Anthropomorphic? That, too.

Mother’s Day started with a memorial service for Anna Jarvis’ mother in 1908, who’d been a community organizer during the Civil War. She’d expressed a desire for a holiday recognizing the all-encompassing contribution of mothers, so when she died, her daughter Anna successful campaigned for an official U.S. holiday.

Interesting, that a holiday inspired by a mother, only became a priority after she was gone.

President Wilson signed a proclamation declaring Mother’s Day a holiday in 1914, and Hallmark started selling Mother’s Day cards in the 1920s. Anna Jarvis became righteously pissed at the rampant commercialization, boycotted the holiday, and even was arrested for disturbing the peace at a Mother’s Day event, where they were making money selling carnations. She tried to rescind the holiday, to no avail, and died in a sanitarium when she was 84.

My sister and I sent flowers to my mom this Mother’s Day. She called when they were delivered, excited about the beautiful arrangement and happy she got lucky with a couple of good kids. I told my mom I loved her, which she already knows, but everybody needs to hear.

So why would I be sharing these rather unfortunate anecdotes about potential dying baby ducks and already dead resentful holiday founders, on a day intended for curated Instagram posts of delicious brunches?

You tell me.

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