Our 97-year-old mother resides in an out-of-state nursing home locked down to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak. This is one of the few years that we have not celebrated with her. Mother’s Day is her time to brag about her two boys and ours to brag about her. Mom loves flowers, but none can be delivered. When we can reach her by phone, we hear a sadness in her voice and the sameness of days without family visits. She hears concern in ours.
It was not a son’s but a daughter’s relentless letter-writing campaign that made Mother’s Day a national holiday in 1914. Never married and without her own motherhood to celebrate, Anna Jarvis spent her years and personal fortune trying to establish the holiday – and later to rescind it from the national calendar. A decade of frustration led Jarvis to loudly denounce the crass commercialism of florists, confectioners, and card makers, completely ignoring the financial boon that the new holiday became for a troubled economy.
Our current troubles could use a fresh holiday to bump up spirits. How about “NEVER A MOTHER DAY” to promote a life without offspring for outdoor cats and kittens? It’s LUYE’s core mission.
Unfixed cats keep our county shelter filled with unwanted, unplanned litters even in the best of times. Spaying momcats prevents her next litter; fixing kittens at three months prevents their first. But the pandemic has put sterilizations on hold and unfixed, mating cats are roaming neighborhoods until the clinic reopens and LUYE’s Eartip Team can resume trapping.
When NEVER A MOTHER DAY catches fire, expect the greeting card industry to fill the racks. Until then, here’s one suitable for an unfixed community cat whose many litters wish her well:
To My Wild Mother
You birthed me when just six months old,
Yourself still but a kitten.
Had not your instincts taken hold,
My life would be unwritten.
A ball to roll with jingles filled
Was not your gift to me.
Instead you taught survival skills,
A rodent potpourri.
I wish for you an eartip
This Never A Mother Day.
With health and vacs the welcome gifts
Spay/neuter brings to sway.
A last note: Anna Jarvis died at age 84 – penniless, childless, and blind – in sanitarium care paid by people connected with the floral and greeting card industries. Her admittance ended her unsuccessful 1943 petition drive to force congress to rescind what became an international holiday worth billions. Even a fraction of that sum would sterilize cats around the world and end euthanasia as a last resort for homelessness. What a wonderful world that will be.
This article by Head Cat Susan Kumpf appeared in the May 2020 issue of Vicinitus Haywood as “Never a Mother’s Day”