05/12/2013 11:24 am ET Updated Jul 12, 2013

Now, How Do We Celebrate Mother's Day?

I have just learned that, after Christmas, Americans spend more money on Mother's Day than on any other holiday in the year.


My sister and I, as children, would go to the corner florist on Broadway and buy mommy a bouquet. Daddy would take us all out to dinner. And that was that.

As a mother myself, I can't recall getting any lavish gifts from my three sons or my husband. Probably, we all went out for dinner.

So I wonder now, with all the mommies working two jobs and many of the daddies laid off, how do they celebrate Mother's Day?

More trenchantly, how do all the gay couples with children celebrate Mother's Day?

With two women running the household, is only one designated "mommy"? Or both?

With two men raising a family, does one man acquire the "mommy" designation? Or neither?

This is not idle speculation -- I'd really like to know. Because parenthood -- specifically, motherhood and fatherhood -- is becoming a fuzzy, hazy, interchangeable concept. Will we one day just abolish mother and father and simply say parent?

While America is grappling, state by state, with the question of gay marriage (apparently ignoring the thorny question of parenthood), France has recently legislated in favor of gay marriage. The law was pushed through, brutally, by President François Hollande, who ignored the millions of marchers who demonstrated against it during these past months. He did not call for a national referendum, because he knew full well that 54 percent of his compatriots were opposed.

So now, on the anniversary of his first year in office, as France's economic situation continues to falter, as unemployment continues to rise, and as Monsieur Hollande's government rattles the alliance with Germany.... gays, at least, can get married! They could have had the same rights under the pre-existing civil alliance contract (known as PAC), but the word "marriage" seems to hold some ineffable attraction.

Which brings me back to the question of mommies and daddies. Will they eventually become obsolete? Or will they become interchangeable, like neutered robots? And as this generation ages, will we also lose the words grandmother and grandfather, aunt and uncle ?

It's something to think about, isn't it?