Mother’s Day is upon us, the one day each year set aside to send cards, flowers, candy, gifts and well wishes to the person who brought us into this world. The person who nurtured us, loved us as only a mother could, and in most cases shaped us more than any other person.
That we celebrate beloved mothers and motherhood for only one spring day of the whole calendar year is such a slight. Mothers deserve to be celebrated for at least a week, maybe a month. Moms don’t tend to waste time sulking about this, of course. They’re too busy, they’re wise enough to know it wouldn’t matter if they did, and furthermore, what sort of example would that set?
We don’t often build monuments to moms (“momuments”?), though this inarguably would be a better world if we did.
Mother’s Day has a complicated though fairly brief history in America. We’ve only marked Mother’s Day as a national holiday for a little more than 100 years, after Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia paid tribute to her late mother in May 1907, according to britannica.com. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day a national holiday.
In an intriguing bit of herstory, six years after Mother’s Day became a national holiday, women finally won the right to vote.
Some folks complain that Mother’s Day is just a “Hallmark holiday” that rides the retail-cycle tides of consumerism. And that’s a fair criticism. Near the end of her life, even Anna Jarvis, the mother of Mother’s Day, was among these critics.
“What had originally been primarily a day of honour became associated with the sending of cards and the giving of gifts, however, and, in protest against its commercialization, Jarvis spent the last years of her life trying to abolish the holiday she had brought into being,” according to britannica.com.
That seems sad. Anna Jarvis may have been right in a way, but you can also see Mother’s Day in a different light. We do what we do on Mother’s Day because we love our moms and, for at least one day of the year, we want to demonstrate that in some tangible way. No one is obligated to buy cards or anything else, but we do these little things because it makes us feel like we’re giving our mothers a token of appreciation. A little acknowledgement to let them know we don’t take them for granted.
For the vast majority of us who were steered in the right direction by a loving mother, there is no gift that can ever adequately compensate for a mother’s love, care, affection and guidance. Yet we send the cards and flowers anyway, as tokens of our admiration, if not awe.
If you ask moms, though, they will tell you they want very little, according to what we read on some blogs moms write. In fact, several moms say the single best gift they could receive on Mother’s Day would be nothing. And by “nothing,” these moms mean not having to do a darn thing all day long for one blessed day.
Now, there’s a gift that might involve some real sacrifice for the giver, if they have to cover all the things most moms do on a daily basis. Lots of moms say a day of relaxation, peace and quiet would be a priceless gift. Maybe Anna Jarvis was on to something after all!
However you celebrate it, have a happy Mother’s Day, and thanks, mom.