Thursday, May 10, 2018

blossoming motherhood

Our village has become one large florist shop.

Barra de Navidad no longer has a formal florist shop. The last one closed years ago. What flowers are sold are usually offered by street vendors.

All of that changed earlier this week. Flowers started popping up in the most unlikely of places. The paper shop. The department store. Every other street corner. It was spring on steroids.

For a moment, I thought the town was preparing for the Hawaii-induced giant tsunami that the look-for-the-international-banker-hiding-under-your-bed brigade has been touting through their Russian troll channels.

But I was wrong. I had forgotten that one of the most important days on the Mexican calendar was almost upon us. And it now is. Today.

This is the day Mexico honors one of its most sacred institutions. Mothers. Dia de la madre.

It does not take anyone living here long to calculate the glue of social life in our villages.

For a lot of reasons (many of them quite understandable), most Mexicans are very skeptical of the motives of government, business, neighbors. They rely almost exclusively on their families as a place of security. And there is always a matriarch who holds it all together. 

It is no accident that the patron saint of Mexico is a woman. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the very model of Mexican womanhood. Or, at least, the aspirational model.

Because the position of mother is so highly-honored, it gets a specific day on the calendar. Its own number. 10 May.

Unlike The States, where the date wanders around the calendar in search of the second Sunday in May (that is a hint for those of you up north who have not yet caught on that The Day is almost here), 10 May is always the day here.

I rather like that. When The States moved almost all federal holidays to the nearest Monday, Independence Day remained sacrosanct. The Fourth of July is 4 July. Celebrating any other day would feel silly.

And so it is with 10 May. My neighbors will be showering their mothers with chocolate, flowers, fancy dinners out. All in the hope of letting them know that without them, there would be no Mexico.

One day is not sufficient to thank them for all they do. But one day is certainly better than none. And Mexico will do itself proud in thanking the women that keep their families standing as a bulwark against the calamities of life.

Feliz día de la madre.

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