I may as well say unpopular. Or maybe counter-cultural. Perhaps there are those who will consider me un-American.

Or, maybe, there’s a chance I’m not as in the minority as I feel.

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I vividly remember standing in front of Mother’s Day cards in my twenties trying desperately to find a card that would be suitable for an estranged relationship. It couldn’t be too sentimental because I wasn’t feeling mushy about my mother. But it couldn’t be too blase because that would be misinterpreted and cause a whole new set of issues. For the record, such a card did not exist.

I could not make the choice to simply not send one either. The expectation of acknowledging (also known as honoring) your mother on Mother’s Day was established. If I failed to meet that expectation at least one family member, and most likely more, would confront me.

I felt trapped.

As I have aged my distaste for “Days” that fall into what I call the societal expectation category has become palpable. These “Days” include, but may not be limited to, Valentine’s, Mother’s, Father’s, Boss’, Teacher Appreciation. . .

I understand the purpose, the idea behind them. And I have always tried to show grace and gratitude when someone has gifted me in response to one of these “Days”.

However, these “Days” and the societal expectation fails to acknowledge the ugly truth that they breed feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and hurt.

We have fostered such a public attitude that is the norm that we, perhaps, ignore the woman who wants to be a mother and isn’t; the man whose mother was abusive; the girl who didn’t get a bouquet of flowers at school for Valentine’s; the teacher who stays late every day but didn’t even get a card.

While our worth should not come from these things, how can we fail to see what is around us or not struggle with our own doubts and fears.

Honor, love, and appreciation cannot be dictated by a “Day” on the calendar. It is fostered by relationship. And, if that relationship exists then the “Day” is unnecessary–because honor, love, and appreciation are expressed in abundance.

Steven and I decided early in our relationship not to participate in Valentine’s Day. And we’ve taken each other off the hook, so to speak, for Mother’s and Father’s Days. Peter can decide what he wants to do when he’s old enough to understand the calendar. We will strive to create a relationship with him so he understands there is no expectation from us.

I’ve always said Steven and I are a bit counter-cultural. But maybe, since we feel this way, there are others out there who do, too.