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Celebrate Mothers

Anna Jarvis who organized the first Mother’s Day celebration wouldn’t be happy with the ways we celebrate this day.  She wanted to honor her deceased mother, an activist that campaigned for more sanitary conditions during the Civil War. After the war, her mom worked to reconcile Confederate and Union families in their community.

             So, on May 10, 1908, Jarvis held a small service to honor her mother at her West Virginia Methodist Episcopal Church.  The idea caught on quickly and spread across our country and celebrations were held in churches.  In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making the second Sunday in May an official holiday.  

            But a few years later, Jarvis was horrified that the day had become commercialized and she campaigned to have the national holiday rescinded.  One biographer wrote that Jarvis had envisioned the holiday as a homecoming, a day to honor your mother, the one who dedicated her life to you. 

            No doubt Jarvis never imagined Mother’s Day as we know it.  For the past two decades, it has been the most popular day of the year to dine out.  National florist associations rate the week as the most important holiday week and for the greeting-card industry Mother’s Day is the third-largest holiday, behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day.   Americans spent almost $26 billion – yes, billion – on Mother’s Day in 2019 according to the National Retail Federation.  Jewelry, restaurant meals, special outings, flowers, and gift cards topped the spending list.  The average spent per person was almost $200.

            Those large numbers surprise me, but celebrating mothers is worth every effort, every penny.  I say that as a daughter, a mother, and grandmother.  As a kid in a small-town church, I liked Mother’s Day when I wore a red carnation corsage and Dad stuck a red rose in his lapel.  Granny’s white flower corsage honored her deceased mother.  I liked when mothers – the oldest, the youngest, the one with the most children – were recognized at church and given pots of blooming flowers.

            I liked that Dad took our family out to eat on Mother’s Day.  Although, the Dixie Café’s fried chicken wasn’t as good as Mom’s, it was the one day that she didn’t cook Sunday dinner.  I treasure wearing the mother’s ring that Mom and her two sisters gave Grandma Gladys for Mother’s Day; those stones carry love thru three generations.

            My favorite cards were the ones my children made from construction paper and drew lopsided flowers and crooked hearts.  When Daughter was a teen-ager, she and her friends gave their mothers a surprise luncheon to celebrate Mother’s Day.  One year when only Son and I were home, he bought Kentucky Fried Chicken and we ate while sitting at a concrete picnic table at Burgress Falls.            

Now, I’m happy to celebrate Daughter and Daughter2, the mothers of my Grands. They should be honored because Anna Jarvis was right – they dedicate their lives to their children.  They deserve every chicken dinner, every ring, and every card.

One Response

  1. Didn’t know about Mrs. Jarvis.Your articles always bring out the goodness!

    Like

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