I have no problem celebrating holidays. I don't think by saying Happy Birthday or eating cake or reflecting on how happy I am to celebrate another year of marriage on a particular day is irreligious. I think it's natural to think "Wow, two and a half years ago today my son was born" and I don't think anything that natural can be wrong. I don't think it distracts me from being a good, moral person. It's not like I go crazy and decide to serve pork chops and beer at a birthday party, right?! I don't spend all day party planning and skip my prayers. And I don't think it means I'm elevating humans to the level of God because I'm celebrating a person's birthday. I think it's no different that saying "Wow, look at that sunset - God is great!" It's just like celebrating any of God's creations of earth.
And that "Everyday should be like Mother's Day" is generally a load of phooey, if you ask me. Is it? Is every day like Mother's day for your wife and/or mother, I ask you? In my experience, the same people spouting that nonsense are the ones whose wives feel they "should" cook a new, "fresh" meal every day for both lunch and dinner and who've never made their own mothers a cup of tea. One guy I know who says this has also once - during a different conversation - bragged about never taking his own dishes from the table to the kitchen sink. Tell me how that kind of guy is doing a good job of making sure his wife & mother feel loved every day?
Yes, I think it's a very nice thing to celebrate all the work wives and mothers do, and I especially like it when that celebration takes the form of a nice gift, a sweet gesture, or some kind of relaxation or relieving of normal duties. It doesn't have to be too commercialized, I think, and I think it's probably a very rewardable for of sadaqa, or charity. Afterall, those who don't thank people don't thank God. Spend the day thanking your wife & mother, how can thank be a bad thing?!
M used to spout this kind of talk too. He was pretty anti-Mother's Day even before we were married. A few years later, when I was expecting our first child, we talked about how it would be nice for him to help facilitate Mother's Day celebrations once our children were old enough, be it by funding gift acquisitions or helping prepare breakfasts or the like. I didn't expect much, and I didn't expect anything to begin until after our children started attending school and making those first grade Mother's Day cards, anyway. I thought at that point they'd ask M to help them do something, and I would finally get my Mother's Day.
I wasn't too upset about missing out on Mother's Day up until then, though. At least I didn't think I was. There have been a lot of compromises in our commingled life together, just as there is in any kind of marriage. I figured this wasn't something I was going to be able to make any difference in until our American-born kids were able to do it themselves, and at least then I would get to celebrate Mother's Day. You don't always realize how important things are when you decide it's okay to give them up, though. Maybe I would have been very sad not to be able to experience some cultural celebration I grew up with myself. Listening to kids pattering feet in the kitchen while you "sleep in," all the while hearing bowls crash to the floor, wondering what you'll be served for breakfast? Having to chew rubbery eggs with a smile? Wearing some terrible perfume that your kids hand-picked for you. These are the things to cherish in life, the things you remember forever.
My wonderful M, though, didn't miss a beat. Turns out not everything in my life is a compromise. Even before there were any babies around, when I was only three months pregnant I woke up one May Sunday morning to an already-dressed M holding a tray of breakfast, a wrapped gift, and a greeting card. The card had a very sweet, touching message (he's always been good at those); the gift was an expensive perfume I sprayed on myself every time I went to the department store but never even thought to buy for myself, and the breakfast was....well, everything can't be perfect, right?
(The breakfast was probably some egg & paratha thing, which was what we normally ate on the weekends back then, but I do remember that he'd also bought a 1/4 of a coconut cream pie. I don't know why he thought that was acceptable breakfast food, but I think he's since learned better. He said he'd read in his Preparing-For-Fatherhood book about how an expectant father should do something nice to celebrate Mother's Day even when the mother is still expecting.)
My M. He's so wonderful. Three years later and I'm still unbelievably touched that he did that for me. Sometimes in an intercultural or interracial relationship, we gear ourselves up for sacrifice, compromise, disappointment, even. We steel ourselves and decide it will be okay, the issue in question is not to small to overcome, or is not so important to me that I will make it a big deal. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. But it is so, so wonderful to find that in some situations that's not necessary. Some battles need not be fought. Sometimes you CAN have everything you want.