Happy Mother’s Day. Today is the unofficial 110th anniversary of designating a special day for moms.
Anna Jarvis created Mother’s Day when she held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
Her efforts to create the holiday paid off after a three-year crusade from 1905 when her mother died. She wanted to not only honor her mom, but all mothers because she believed a mother is, “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”
The U.S. Congress didn’t agree with Jarvis’ enthusiasm to celebrate mom so they rejected the proposal in 1908 stating, they would also have to proclaim a “Mother-in-Law Day.”
That might not be a bad idea, either. I know plenty of mothers-in-law who deserve a day in their honor, but it might be a bit redundant since we celebrate all moms on a day like today.
It wasn’t until 1911 when all U.S. states recognized Mother’s Day as a holiday. In 1912, Jarvis trademarked “Mother’s Day.” By 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation stating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the world on many different dates (most countries do celebrate on the second Sunday in May), even though some countries may call it by another name. Russia, for example, celebrates International Women’s Day instead of Mother’s Day on the last Sunday in November.
Years after the U.S. government recognized Mother’s Day, Jarvis became disenchanted with the holiday. noting how commercial the holiday had become.
Jarvis, who never married or had children, died in 1948 and is buried next to her mother in Bala Cynwyrd, outside Philadelphia.
Celebrating mom when I was a child was always fun. I labored over doing the right thing and getting my mom the right gift to show my love and my appreciation for all she did for me. Anna Javis was right.
I think my mom always adored the handmade gifts I made when I was in elementary school. When I got a bit older, I would save up enough money to buy her a nice gift.
When I was 10 years old, I purchased a matching mirror, brush and comb vanity set that sat on the top of my mom’s dresser. Don’t ask me why I chose that vanity set. I thought it was very lady-like and it was something she could use and maybe think of me when she did.
I never understood why the mirror lying on its side would be useful, but I knew the comb and brush would be.
It was gold and looked so fancy. I wanted Mom to feel fancy – like a princess.
The set may have been $15 or $20 but I couldn’t put a price on my mom’s happiness.
My entire life, even into adulthood, I always tried to make my mom happy. I wanted her to be proud of me.
She had that comb and brush set for decades and I can’t tell you how proud I was of that purchase each and every day I saw it.
That set wasn’t just a mirror, comb and brush, it was love. It was something I saved my money for, picked out and gave it to her with love. I hope she felt the same.
Now that she’s gone a bit over two years and, with her living days so fresh in my mind, there are a million things I would have done differently.
I know I did all I could for her, especially after my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 36 years ago. I feel happy about all I could do.
Granted, there were days when I couldn’t attend to her as quickly as she would have liked and, believe me, she let me know. She definitely had her ways of letting me know.
Hanging up the phone on me was a subtle way of letting me know she was not happy. Making me feel guilty was another tactic, as well. She was good at doing both.
As she got older, she relied on me more and more and it was difficult for me as I tried to conduct my work and family life. When duty called, though, I was there for my mom.
Mom had some favorite lines to show authority. When she was angry with me, she’d say, “I made you and I’ll kill you!” I’m smiling as I’m typing this. Some others are “Don’t do as I do; do as I say” or “I’m the mother; you do for me.”
That was my mother’s beliefs. In some cultures and ethnic groups, mothers are supreme, the top of the heap, the queen. Sometimes we lose sight of how much influence our moms have on our lives.
Celebrate Mom — or any woman who has meant much to you in your life — today.
We owe mothers much more than one day a year.
Quote of the week
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angle mother.” – Abraham Lincoln
Thought of the week
“Successful mothers are not the ones that never struggled. They are the ones that never give up.” – Sharon Jaynes
“Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.” – George Eliot
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