apprehend \a-pri-ˈhend\ – to grasp the meaning of; understand, especially intuitively; perceive.
Mothers’s Day is due. And it’s purpose is to apprehend our mothers – for a single day, a single moment of that day, to focus our luminescent faculty of ‘Aql given us by God. Surely we are capable of this task? Does not Hamlet exclaim Man’s apprehension, as like a god’s? Here is a task worthy of such power: try and discern, just for one day, why the portal to Heaven lies beneath the feet of this woman before you.
If that’s what Mother’s Day is for, then we are doomed to fail.
Any concept – be it Motherhood, Love, or Thankfulness, to name a few – that we pretend to meaningfully engage by celebrating publicly is inherently wrapped in a concealing veil of that public celebration, diluting “appreciation” into a ritual. Would one day of devotion equal a year of taking for granted or neglect? Can any human really – as a cognitive exercise – really apprehend – intuitively understand, perceive – their mother? Or Motherhood itself, as a concept? Even as a mother yourself, you can only relate, but you can’t replicate the journey your own mother took, There’s an inherent mystery to the concept of motherhood, something primal and instinctive, that we obscure by piling on with trappings of flowers and gifts. Ultimately, mothers mother because they must, they are driven to mother YOU of all people, and any appreciation we proffer is as well-intentioned as a scrawled “I love you” in crayon, pinned to the fridge door. But equally transient.
Dutifully call your mother and say Happy Mother’s Day, I love you, miss you. All the rest, the things you cannot say, and are incapable of saying, she knows already.
Aziz Poonawalla blogs at Patheos.