If it weren’t for social media, which for me usually means that ubiquitous Facebook, I might not know what’s going on outside this vineyard half the time. I think it’s debatable whether or not that’s a good thing, but when a big U.S. holiday like Mother’s Day pops up out of the blue, I think it’s grand. (Italy has a Mother’s Day but it’s not until later in May.) I don’t have a very good memory for these sorts of things (Unfortunately this includes important birthdays and anniversaries too!), and frankly, I’m not sure how I managed this information before Facebook. In the case of this past weekend, I was lucky that some friends started changing their profile pics to a photo of dear ol’ mom as soon as Friday night, giving me ample time to process and react… even shoot a little video of the grandkids for my momma, which I would post here if I didn’t think it would instantly decay your teeth with its sugary sweetness.
Strangely, I think I paid more attention to Mother’s Day from afar then I would have if I’d been in the U.S.. Along with Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day, I tend to think of these as Hallmark-created holidays, engineered for all of us to spend money during loughs in the retail world. Owning a store for a few years, cemented this idea even further, as I saw all the effort that goes into keeping people buying when there’s no special occasion. While I’m on the subject, doesn’t it seem like we’re supposed to buy more and bigger presents for these secondary holidays every year? And why does honoring mom need a special day anyway, when in fact, we should all be doing nice things for mom all year long? No one has done more for you, right?! Without her, you wouldn’t even be here, so let’s face it, a bouquet of flowers and lunch once a year, ain’t gonna do it. However, even with my bucketload of cynicism about it, I enjoyed the online celebration of all the moms I know, and some I don’t, more than I would have expected.
I suspect it’s because social media gave me the chance to pop into all those holiday luncheons and parties that people organized, and tune into all their kind sentiments, without having to participate in the advertising and consumerism that normally goes along with the day, and I didn’t have to actually attend any of these lovely events I saw scrolling by my screen. I say that with much love for all my family and friends who generously host the good ones, but with the knowledge that sometimes you get roped into going to the bad shindigs because of proximity, not because you actually know the hosts well, or even like them. I don’t miss those latter events at all, but I do miss those closest to me, especially when I see them gathering to partake in festivities together. When I see a picture and not only do I know everyone in it and can make out exactly where it’s been taken, but I can also place myself in the scene that I know so well, sensing the noise level, making out pieces of conversation, knowing what the air is like, almost feeling the touch of a warm cheek as they kiss me hello, smelling his aftershave or her perfume, melting in another one’s hug.
Although I often curse Mark Zuckerberg’s creation, in these nostalgic moments, I feel lucky to exist at a time when this real time connection via thin air is possible, these moments when I get to see my people smiling and happy together, and get to share in a little piece of the party from 4000 miles away, even one in honor of a holiday made up by a greeting card company.