I have never had much use for birthdays, a rather barbaric custom we invented to remind ourselves how old we're getting. I don't know about you, but I didn't have a heck of a lot to say about being born. It seems this is something parents should be celebrating rather than their offspring. Aside from my wedding anniversary, the only other holidays that have any meaning to me are Mothers Day and Fathers Day.
For some reason, I have always equated Mothers Day to Spring as we usually experience some fine weather regardless of where we lived. More importantly, it makes for an important family get-together, and something I think mothers tend to relish. Regardless if it is flowers and brunch or a dinner, mom's like to have their family around them on this day. Actually, it is not so much about a card or gift to them, it is just the thought of being remembered and loved that is important.
Many years ago when I was still in college, I drove 300 miles up to Buffalo, New York to see my grandmother on Mothers Day. I didn't have much back then, but it really didn't matter to her, she was just delighted I would take the time to drive up to see her. The only thing I could offer her was some much needed chores around the outside of the house, and to just sit and visit with her. We talked well into the evening and discussed just about everything. She cooked a wonderful dinner for us before I had to return to school. In other words, I couldn't have given her a better gift than simply my time and affection, and I think that's all any mother really wants.
I have told my children that I couldn't care less about any other holiday than Father's Day. They can forget everything else, but I ask them to remember me on this date as I think the world of them. Unlike Moms, Dads don't necessarily want or need a fancy meal or get together, although a bit of fishing or a ball game wouldn't hurt. A good joke and conversation doesn't hurt either.
Mothers and Fathers Days are not so much about commemorating a particular event, such as a birthday, as it is about appreciating a family relationship. Parents don't like to be forgotten, ignored, or taken for granted, all of which pains them greatly, particularly if they feel they had a healthy relationship with their offspring. As an aside, in my office I have Fathers Day cards made by my children back when they were in grade school. They're very important to me.
Although we all lead busy lives, it is nice to set aside a couple of days to remember our parents. My father has been gone five years now, and I was fortunate to have worked closely with him for many years. It was common for us to engage in arguments, not so much in the heat of battle, but to discuss an idea or thesis. I very much miss those lively debates, and him. On Fathers Day now, I take it upon myself to visit him at the cemetery. I guess you could call it a pilgrimage of sorts. He doesn't say too much anymore, but it's the thought that counts.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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